Press Trust of india

SC order on floor test in K’taka assembly ‘historic’, BJP ‘baffled’ as it lacks numbers: Cong

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New Delhi, May 18 : Hailing the Supreme Court’s order of holding floor test in the Karnataka assembly as “historic”, the Congress today accused the BJP of being “baffled” and “frustrated” as it lacked numbers to prove majority and objected to the appointment of a BJP MLA as the pro tem speaker ahead of the confidence vote tomorrow.

Addressing the media here, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi contended that a “senior most” legislator from any party should be appointed as the pro tem speaker “as per convention”. According to the Congress, its eight-time MLA R V Deshpande is the senior most lawmaker in the assembly.

“It is a historic interim order by the apex court of the country. It is historic because directly, with this degree of specificity it is raised for the first time, the extent of rights and discretion of the Governor to call ‘A’ or ‘B’ for government formation immediately after the election,” Singhvi said.

To a question that the BJP has accused the Congress of being “baffled and frustrated” to retain power in the southern state, Singhvi said it was “ironical and funny” for the NDA major to have said so “in the face of defeat”.

He referred to BJP legislature party leader B S Yeddyurappa’s counsel Mukul Rohatgi seeking more time from the apex court to prove majority after it ordered floor test to be conducted tomorrow itself.

“Don’t you see the message is clear in that (when Rohatgi asked for more time to prove majority)? Why Monday? To do what you could not do for three days (after Yeddyurappa wrote letter to Governor staking claim to form government on May 15),” Singhvi added.

Another aspect of the BJP’s “frustration”, Singhvi said was Attorney General K K Venugopal pitching for the use of secret ballots for confidence vote during the floor test “on the instructions” of the Centre.

“As you know, secret ballot has never ever been used for a confidence vote. But more importantly who will ask for a secret ballot? Why?” he asked.

Earlier, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala welcomed the Supreme Court’s order, saying the Constitution has rejected the “unconstitutional” decision of the Karnataka Governor.

“Constitution wins, Democracy restored! B S Yeddyurappa does remain a 1 day CM – Constitution rejects an illegitimate CM as also the unconstitutional decision of Governor of Karnataka (sic),” he said on Twitter.

Singhvi, who represented the Congress-JD (S) combine in the apex court, had said that the “Interim Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has been restrained from taking policy decisions till tomorrow”.

The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats in Karnataka assembly, was invited by Governor Vajubhai Vala to form the government despite the JD(S)-Congress combine staking claim by citing the support of 117 MLAs.

The majority mark is 112.

In a historic pre-dawn hearing, the top court had yesterday cleared the last-minute hurdle created by the Congress-JD(S) combine for the BJP’s ambitious surge in southern India by paving the way for Yeddyurappa to be sworn in as the chief minister of Karnataka.

During the high-voltage hearing, which lasted from 2.11 AM to 5.28 AM, the top court had made it clear that the swearing-in and government formation would be subject to the final outcome of the case.

Today, a three-judge bench headed by Justice A K Sikri said, “Let the House decide and the best course would be floor test.”

The apex court also directed the Karnataka government and the Governor not to nominate any MLA from the Anglo-Indian community to participate in the floor test tomorrow.

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