The Bharatiya Janata Party’s BS Yeddyurappa today took oath as chief minister of Karnataka after a night of high drama that saw the Supreme Court of India opening its doors for a post-midnight hearing.
Yeddyurappa was the only person to take oath with the BJP saying that other ministers will be take oath only once the party is able to prove a majority on the floor of the house.
The Congress and JD(S) combine claim to have the support of 117 MLAs. Governor Vajubhai Vala, however, invited Yeddyurappa to form government last night, a decision that the Congress immediately challenged in the Supreme court.
The Congress filed a petition against the Governor’s decision at around 10pm and Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra constituted a three-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SA Bobde and AK Sikri to hear the petition in a late-night hearing.
The hearing began at 2:11 am and ended at 5.28 AM. The Supreme Court refused to stay Yeddyurappa’s swearing in but made it clear that the government formation in Karnataka would be subject to the final outcome of the case.
The court has sought the letters of approval backing Yeddyurappa and chief minister and has posted the matter for further hearing tomorrow. It also issued notices to the Karnataka government and Yeddyurappa.
The high voltage drama over power in the southern state began after the election results were declared on Tuesday. The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, while Congress got 78 seats and JD(S) 37.
Immediately after the results were declared, the Congress rushed to JD(S) leadership to forge an alliance and prevent BJP from forming the government. Congress announced that it will have JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy as the chief minister of the southern state.
The outcome of the Assembly election resulted in a war of words between the Congress and the BJP. Even as both the parties intensified their efforts to assume power, on Wednesday night Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP to form the government.
Irate by the turn of events, the Congress and its ally JD(S) threatened to take the legal course. Hours later the Congress-JD(S) leadership approached the Supreme Court. In its writ petition before the Apex court, the Grand Old Party termed the Governor’s decision to be arbitrary, malafide and partisan.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Congress leadership slammed the Governor and called out the arbitrariness of allowing BJP 15 days to prove majority.