Amid high-voltage political drama, BS Yedyurappa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Thursday morning. This happened a day after the Governor of Karnataka, Valubhai Vala invited the BJP to form a government in the state.
B S Yeddyurappa, who was elected the party’s legislative leader earlier that day, took oath at 9 am this morning. The party, which emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly, secured 104 seats in the 224-member House, just short of majority. It has to prove its strength on the floor of the House within 15 days.
The Congress, which won 78 seats in the elections, has allied with the JD(S), which has 37 seats, in a bid to keep the BJP out of power. The alliance, which has 115 MLAs in its kitty, had met the Governor on Thursday to stake claim to form the government.
Following the Governor’s move, the alliance petitioned the Supreme Court late Wednesday night. The top court, however, refused to stay BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa swearing-in but made it clear that the government formation would depend on the final verdict in the case.
The court has granted Attorney-General KK Venugopal 48 hours to collect letters written by Yeddyurappa to Governor Vajubhai Vala staking his claim to form the government and produce them before the court at 10.30 am on May 18.
A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri, S.A. Bobde and Ashok Bhushan would examine the contents of the letters to find out, among other things, why Governor Vala “generously” gave Mr. Yeddyuruppa 15 days to prove his majority. The Congress-JDS combine alleged that Mr. Yeddyurappa had only asked for seven days’ time to prove his majority.
The court would also examine the letters to find an answer to the Congress’s claim that it was “mathematically” impossible for Mr. Yeddyruppa to raise his seats from the declared 104 to cross the 111 mark, especially when the Congress-JDS already has 117 seats in the 222–seat house. The future of Yeddyurappa as CM depends on what the court finds in the letters.