Bengaluru: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader BS Yeddyurappa has taken oath as Karnataka chief minister for the third time at Thursday at 9 am after the Supreme Court, in a rare overnight hearing on a petition by the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), refused to stop the ceremony.
However, the court did not dismiss the petition, saying it would be heard next at 10.30 am on Friday and that the matter would be subject to the outcome of the hearing. It asked for the letter written by Yeddyurappa to the Karnataka governor on May 15 for making a claim to form the government to be produced in court, counsels for the Congress and JD(S) said, according to news agency ANI. The court also issued a notice to the respondents, including Yeddyurappa, asking them to file a reply.
This will be the third term for Yeddyurappa as CM. In 2007, he was in the Chief Ministerial gaadi for seven days. In 2008, he served a 39-month stint after leading the party to victory. Will this time be shorter or longer? We will have to wait and see.
Earlier, on Wednesday night, Karnataka Governor Vaijubhai Vala had invited the BJP leader to form the government in the state on the basis of him being the leader of the single-largest party, provoking an immediate and angry reaction from the Congress, which challenged the decision in the Supreme Court.
The BJP, which has 104 seats in the 224-member legislature (the current strength is 222 as voting in 2 seats has been deferred), still eight short of the simple majority required, had earlier said its government would be sworn in on Thursday at 9 am. No central leader from the party is expected to attend the swearing in.
Vala gave Yeddyurappa 15 days to prove his majority on the floor of the house, prompting analysts to fear that the BJP will use this period to convince legislators of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) to abstain from voting. The Congress also objected to the length of time provided to the BJP.
“BJP has just 104 MLAs in support and the Governor has invited BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa to form the government. It is completely unconstitutional,” Congress leader and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said at the hearing before Justices AK Sikri, Ashok Bhushan and SA Bobde that began around 2 am on Thursday, ANI reported.
BJP’s lawyer Mukul Rohatgi argued for the petition to be dismissed, saying the governor is doing his job and the court should not stop a constitutional functionary in functioning of his official duties, it was reported.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre,said the petition should not have been filed. The Congress and JD(S) should have waited for the floor test to be conducted, he added.
“We do not know what kind of majority BS Yeddyurappa has claimed. Unless we see that letter of support, we cannot speculate,” Justice SA Bobde said.
The last time the apex court held a such hearing at night was on a petition in July 2015 seeking clemency for Yakub Memon, who was sentenced to death in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.