NEW DELHI: The Congress today took strong objection to the appointment of BJP MLA K G Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker ahead of tomorrow's floor test in Karnataka, alleging he was "dented and tainted" as strictures were passed against him and indicated it might move court against Governor Vajubhai Vala's decision.
Raising questions over Vala's move to appoint him, Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said according to convention, the senior-most MLA is appointed the pro-tem speaker and the Governor should have followed past precedents.
The Congress claimed that its eight-time MLA R V Deshpande is the senior-most lawmaker in the assembly and appointing Bopaiah is not according to convention and constitutional norms.
"The option of going back to the court is open," he told reporters when asked whether the Congress is moving court.
"We will positively bring this to matter before the notice of the court.
" he said when prodded further.
In Bengaluru, Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot, who is camping there, alleged that the Raj Bhawan has shut its doors as it is not accepting the party's complaint against Bopaiah's appointment.
"Raj Bhawan has succumbed to pressure from the BJP and the Centre as it is not ready to accept our letter of protest," he said, adding, "We have the mandate as all our MLAs are together and BJP will not be able to prove its majority.
" Surjewala alleged this is the third time Governor Vala has "encountered" constitution, saying, "he cannot murder democracy in broad daylight and trample the Constitution".
He said by appointing such a person who has tried in the past to prove a majority by fraud and manufacture a majority out of a minority in favour of B S Yeddyurappa.
"This reflects that the BJP does not have a majority. The trio of Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Vajubhai Vala will not be allowed to trample the Constitution," he said, adding that it has lost the mandate to form a government.
Surjewala said it was "utmost important" to follow the past convention at a time when the BJP and Vala had "hijacked" and "encountered" democracy thrice and are "conspiring" to "forcibly" form a government led by Yeddyurappa.
"Deshpande is the senior-most MLA in the Karnataka assembly. Though Deshpande belongs to the Congress, MLAs from the opposition too have always sworn by his reputation and neutrality. But they appointed a three-time MLA KG Bopaiah who is dented and tainted," Surjewala said.
He said that Bopaiah, when the latter was assembly speaker in the state between 2009 and 2013, had allegedly violated democratic and constitutional norms to save the previous government of Yeddyurappa, who faced corruption charges then.
Considered close to Yeddyurappa, he had disqualified 11 disgruntled BJP and five Independent MLAs ahead of a trust vote to help the Yeddyurappa government in 2011.
Bopaiah's decision was upheld by the Karnataka High Court but overturned by the Supreme Court, which said he had acted in haste, indicting him and passing strictures against him.
"He is the same Bopaiah who had disqualified those BJP MLAs who had exposed corruption of Yeddyurappa. The Supreme Court bench had said he did not believe in the Constitution, democracy.
"The SC had dismissed his orders (as speaker) with stinging strictures. Does such a person have the right to continue even for a day," he said.
Earlier, another Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi too had raised questions over Bopaiah's appointment and pitched for Deshpande to play the role.
Top Congress leaders met here today soon after Vala appointed the BJP MLA as the pro-tem speaker, and decided that the matter should be challenged in court, the sources said.
The Supreme Court today ordered a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 PM tomorrow, drastically slashing the 15-day window given by the Governor to Yeddyurappa to prove majority.
The BJP has emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, followed by the Congress with 78, the JD(S) with 37 and three seats have gone to others in the 224-member assembly where elections were held for 222 seats.
The majority mark is 112 seats and the post-poll alliance strength of the Congress-JD(S) combine, which claims to have 117 MLAs, has alleged foul play in the Governor inviting BJP to form the government.