Congress and JD(S) leaders staged protest in front of the Gandhi statue next to the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, against the swearing in of BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa as chief minister. He was administered the oath by the Governor at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan this morning.
Karnataka is witnessing a political turmoil after the assembly polls threw a fractured mandate with BJP winning 104, Congress 78 and JD(S) 37.
As Congress moved swiftly allying with JD(S) and backing HD Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister, BJP pursued its claim being a single largest party. Late on Wednesday night, the governor invited BJP to form the government.
Several senior Congress leaders, including former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Mallikarjuna Kharge, party’s General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal, sat at the foot of the statue, staging the protest.
Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah termed as “unprecedented” Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to grant 15 days time to Yeddyurappa for proving majority in the assembly. He said Yeddyurappa would now have to furnish the list of MLA’s supporting him immediately.
JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy accused the BJP-ruled Centre of using agencies like the Enforcement Directorate to threaten MLAs of the Congress-JD(S) combine in Karnataka.
“How is this Central government behaving? This Narendra Modi government wants to demolish democracy in the country,” said Kumaraswamy, whose claim to form the government was ignored by the governor.
He also alleged that Centre was misusing central government agencies. “They are threatening and putting pressure on MLAs,” he alleged. Referring to speculation that Congress MLA Anand Singh, who has been out of touch with his party, could rejoin the BJP, Kumaraswamy said the ED was being used against him as there was a case pending against him.
“I have not spoken to Anand Singh… one of the Congress’ MLAs told me that Singh had called him and expressed his problem… The Congress MLA gave me the message and asked me to take a lead in this issue,” he claimed.
The Congress had moved Supreme Court last night leading to a rare post-midnight courtroom battle. After a nearly three-and-a-half-hour hearing beginning 2:11 AM, a three-judge apex court bench allowed the swearing-in to go but posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.
(With inputs from PTI)