BENGALURU: The behaviour of the newly elected representatives of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly during the first half of Saturday had given some indications on how the fortunes of former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa will swing later in the day. It was all but clear during lunch break when there were rumours that Yeddyurappa would resign as CM — two days after he took charge.
In the first session of the 15th Assembly, Yeddyurappa faced an Herculean task of manufacturing a majority after BJP fell short of eight seats. After his controversial swearing-in on Thursday, the nomination of K G Bopaiah as pro-tem Speaker on Friday was also contested in the Supreme Court.
When the Assembly convened at 11 am on Saturday, BJP leaders might have had a glimmer of hope as JD(S) MLAs were nowhere to be found. However, the MLAs — who returned to the city from Hyderabad — made their way into the Assembly a few minutes later, much to the relief of the anxious Congress camp. The MLAs — who were taken to Hyderabad to prevent possible poaching by BJP — reached Bengaluru during the early hours of Saturday and were accommodated in a private hotel in the city.
Curious case of missing MLAs
As soon as the House convened, Congress and JD(S) leaders were seen ensuing that none of their MLAs are absent. KPCC working president and Gandhinagar MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao was seen moving around the Assembly Hall and taking signatures of all Congress MLAs for a whip — which required them to be present in the Assembly in case of a trust vote. As these leaders grew in confidence over the numbers they had, BJP leaders had a long face as if in anticipation of the eventual loss in the floor test. During the period, however, the absence of MLAs Anand Singh and Pratap Gowda Patil was a topic of discussion, though the BJP remained well short of the number required to clear the floor test.
The Supreme Court decision also came out around the same time which did not find fault with the Governor's nomination of Bopaiah as pro-tem Speaker.
Meanwhile, Congress continued to release tapes of alleged conversation between Congress MLAs and BJP leaders. Following the first audio clip released on Friday, three more tapes were released on Saturday, putting the BJP on the backfoot — even as new MLAs were taking oath.
Oath and floor test
During the period that lasted from 11 am to 1.15 pm, a total of 207 of the 221 newly elected MLAs took oath. However, soon after the lunch break that ended at 3.30, the remaining MLAs were sworn in.
Next, it was time for the much-anticipated floor test. However, as rumours had indicated earlier, Yeddyurappa decided to submit his resignation — an anti-climax after four days of political events unparalleled in the history of the state.