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SC to hear plea against Karnataka pro-tem Speaker Bopaiah today; updates

Supreme Court said that the pro-tem Speaker K G Bopaiah shall conduct the floor test today at 4 pm to ascertain the majority

Agencies  |  New Delhi 

Karnataka floor test
Congress activists stage a demonstration under Gandhi Statue against the Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala's invitation to BJP to form the Government, in Kolkata, on Friday

Karnataka Assembly floor test: The directive on Friday to hold floor test in the Karnataka Assembly on Saturday led to heightened political activity in the state, with the Congress-JD(S) post-poll alliance sure of B S Yeddyurappa losing the battle and the (BJP) sounding confident to sail through.

The had in its Thursday morning order rejected Yeddyurappa's plea, made through senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, asking for at least a week's time to face the floor test, and directed it to be conducted on Saturday instead.

A bench of Justice A K Sikri, Justice S A Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan on Friday said the pro-tem Speaker, conventionally the senior-most member of the assembly, would administer the newly-elected members their oath and then conduct the floor test.

The court junked Attorney General K K Venugopal's suggestion that the floor test be conducted through secret ballot. The court also barred Yeddyurappa from taking any policy decisions till the floor test.

On Friday evening, the confrontation between the two sides once again reached the Supreme Court, with the Congress claiming that the appointment of legislator K G Bopaiah as pro-tem Speaker by the Governor "violates every single constitutional norm" of senior-most member being appointed to the post.

legislature party leader Yeddyurappa was on Thursday morning sworn-in as the Chief Minister after the May 12 election threw up a hung Assembly. The won 104 of the 222 seats, falling eight short of the 112-halfway mark. The Congress bagged 78 seats and the JD(S) 37.

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The court also restrained the Chief Minister from nominating an Anglo-Indian member.

Following the apex court order, Yeddyurappa told reporters in Bengaluru that he was confident of proving his majority in the House.

On the other hand, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the BJP's "bluff" has been called.

Congress communications incharge Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters in Delhi that they will bring the matter of Bopaiah's appointment before the court. He said Congress member R V Deshpande was the senior-most member of the House.

62-year-old Bopaiah is a three-time legislator. He was the Speaker during the BJP rule in the state from 2008-13. Surjewala said Bopaiah has been indicted by the apex court.

Meanwhile, both Congress and JD(S) leaders said they had shifted legislators to Hyderabad to prevent the BJP from "poaching" them.

ALSO READ: Democracy restored, says Cong after SC orders floor test in Karnataka tomorrow

In Bengaluru, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said it is surprising that Congress and JD(S), which together have the support of 117 legislators including two Independents, were not invited to form a government by the Governor.

Former state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah held a crucial meeting with newly-elected Congress MLAs in Hyderabad to discuss the strategy to be adopted during the floor test.

The Supreme Court, after a rare midnight hearing, early on Thursday refused to stay the oath-taking ceremony of Yeddyurappa as sought in a joint petition by the Congress and the JD(S).

Here are the top highlights around the result aftermath and the political turmoil in the state:

* SC to hear Congress-JD(S)' petition challenging the appointment of K G Bopaiah as pro-tem speaker at 10:30 am on Saturday.

* SC directs a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 pm today.

* SC turns down Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa's request for a secret ballot during the floor test.

* SC restrains the Karnataka government and Governor Vajubhai Vala from nominating any MLA from the Anglo-Indian community ahead of the floor test today.

* SC directs all the elected members to take oath today and the exercise shall be completed before 4 pm.

* SC said that the pro-tem Speaker shall conduct the floor test tomorrow at 4 pm to ascertain the majority.

* SC directs the DGP to himself ensure adequate and sufficient security arrangements, so that there is no lapse on this count whatsoever.

* SC says the newly-elected government shall not to take any major policy decision till it proves majority in the House. Yeddyurappa assures no such decision will be taken.

* Justice Sikri who headed a three-judge bench said in the lighter vein, "Anyway he (Yeddyurappa) will not have the time now for major policy decisions, he will remain busy with other things".

* SC said ultimately the question is about majority, which has to be proved in the floor of the House.

* SC makes it clear that it would deal with the constitutionality of the governor's letter inviting Yeddyurappa to form the government later.

* SC says there were precedents where courts have ordered floor test in 24 or 48 hours to ascertain majority.

* SC says floor test will be held tomorrow so that no one has enough time in the given situation.

* SC says courts have an obligation to uphold the majesty of the rule of law and the Constitution.

* Noted jurist Ram Jethmalani said the governor has violated the law and his action is shameful.

* SC tells Ram Jethmalani, the governor is a constitutional authority and court will decide on his action at the later stage.

* SC says it is the floor test, which will decide who has the majority.

* Congress-JD(S) combine alleges that Governor Vajubhai Vala was not correct in inviting the BJP for government formation, which had lesser numbers than it.

* BJP disputes letter given by rivals on the support of MLAs saying Congress MLA Anand Singh has not signed it.

*Yeddyurappa says BJP emerged as single largest party and had the "mandate of people" of the state who have "thrown out" ruling Congress.

* BJP terms post-poll alliance of the Congress and the JD(S) as an "unholy alliance".

* BJP seeks reasonable time for floor test and sought holding it on May 21, saying even Congress-JD(S) MLAs are staying in Kochi and needs time to come to Bangalore.

*Congress-JD(S) combine tells SC that they were ready for floor test tomorrow and court should provide security and ensure videography.

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 22:35 IST