Karnataka floor test: CM Yeddyurappa quits, 3-day old BJP government falls; big setback for PM Modi
Karnataka floor test: In a special session of the assembly, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, after moving the motion seeking a vote of confidence of the Karnataka Assembly in his government resigned before the voting happened. He gave a long and moving speech before announcing that he was quitting.
Karnataka floor test: In a special session of the assembly, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, after moving the motion seeking a vote of confidence of the Karnataka Assembly in his government resigned before the voting happened. He gave a long and moving speech before announcing that he was quitting. Yeddy was heading a 3-day old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. The Karnataka Assembly floor test on Saturday was ordered by the Supreme Court after the Congress and JDS approached it in the wake of the Karnataka election result that threw up BJP as the largest party with 104 MLAs, but Congress and JDS stole the thunder by announcing a post-result coalition, whose numbers beat the saffron party comfortably. However, Karnataka Governor invited BJP chief ministerial face BS Yeddyurappa to form the government, causing the other parties to rush to the apex court, which ordered the floor test on Saturday. While the arguments were being heard at the SC, drama continued apace as Congress and JDS tried to protect their legislators from being poached by the saffron party. They were bused out of the state. As per the maths, the halfway mark in the assembly is 112. BJP had 104 MLAs plus one independent. Congress has 78 MLAs and JDS 38, plus an independent for a total of 117. The only way BJP could have won was to engineer a mass exodus from these parties. Or else, BJP needed 13 MLAs not to vote - but, they would then have been disqualified as legislators. However, if two-thirds of the MLAs, either from Congress or JDS, exited and merged with BJP, then they would not be disqualified. Ultimately, none of this came into play as Yeddy quit well before the process started; he said, "I will not face confidence vote; I am going to resign".
The chief minister announced his decision to resign without facing a trust vote. He added, "I am going to resign as chief minister.... I will go to Raj Bhavan and submit my resignation." However, Yeddyurappa also said that he would now "go to the people".
This step by Yeddyurappa is likely to lead the Governor to ask JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy to form the government with the backing of the Congress. The newly formed alliance has claimed majority in the 224-member House, whose effective strength is currently 221. The other seats include 2 where polling was not held. The third seat is being held by Kumaraswamy. He contested from 2 seats and won both. He will ahve to quit from one.
In his reaction thereafter, on being asked about formation of government, Kumaraswamy said, "We are not in hurry. We are waiting for invitation from governor."
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, in his reaction, said, "I hope the BJP and the RSS learnt lessons that institutions of the country and the will of the country cannot be disrespected."
This loss in Karnataka would have come as a big blow to PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah as they were looking to go forward into the general elections 2019 on a high.
Chronology of events in Karnataka
* May 12: Elections held in Karnataka.
* May 15: Election Commission announces results. BJP emerges as single largest party with 104 members; Congress with 78 and JD(S) with 37 MLAs stitch an alliance.
* Both the BJP and the Congress-JD(S) combine stake claim to form government.
* May 16: Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invites BJP to form government and asks B S Yeddyurappa to take oath as chief minister the next day.
* Congress moves Supreme Court late evening against the governor's invitation to the BJP.
* May 16-17: SC opens its doors at midnight for an urgent hearing.
* May 17: Hearing begins at 2.11 am and concludes at 5.28 am. SC refuses to stay oath-taking ceremony of Yeddyurappa.
* Yeddyurappa sworn in as CM at 9 am.
* May 18: SC orders floor test at 4 pm on May 19.
* Congress-JD (S) combine late at night move the SC challenging the governor's decision to appoint BJP MLA K G Bopaiah as pro tem speaker to conduct the floor test. SC says it will hear plea on May 19.
* May 19: SC orders live telecast of floor test to ensure transparency in trust vote.
* At 4 pm: Yeddyurappa says "I will not face confidence vote; I am going to resign".