By Express News Service
NEW DELHI:Seeking to put an early end to the rancorous dispute between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress-JD(S) combine over forming a new government in Karnataka, the Supreme Court on Friday set aside the 15-day window given to B S Yeddyurappa to rustle up the numbers and directed him to prove majority on the floor of the House on Saturday at 4.00 pm.
“We will decide the larger question on whether the governor was right in inviting the single largest party over the post-poll alliance claiming majority later. But the floor test will have to happen immediately to balance the equity,” said the three-judge bench of A K Sikri, S A Bobde, and Ashok Bhushan.
The SC ruled that only a pro-tem speaker can be elected to hold the floor test and asked Yeddyurappa not to take any executive orders till then. Notably, Attorney General K K Venugopal’s demand for a secret ballot was rejected.
The court also restrained governor Vajubhai Vala from nominating any member to the house or taking any major policy decisions. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Yeddyurappa and two other BJP MLAs, told the court that Yeddyurappa had written to the governor on May 15 claiming majority. “He has clearly said he is the leader of the single largest party and has support from other parties and form the government,” he said, submitting the letters to the court in a sealed envelope.
However, the letter did not reveal the names of members of Congress and JD(S) who are allegedly extending support to the BJP. “In this atmosphere of suspicion, we cannot name them. The other side has locked up their MLAs in a resort... and it is our argument that they have been detained and threatened,” Rohatgi said.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, however, contested Yeddyurappa’s first letter to the governor saying it was written before the Election Commission had notified the official numbers in the gazette.