Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B S Yeddyurappa took oath as the 23rd chief minister of Karnataka on Thursday after the Supreme Court, in a post-midnight hearing, decided not to put a stay on the swearing-in.
Top BJP leaders, including Union Ministers JP Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan and Prakash Javadekar were present at Raj Bhavan in Karnataka during the swearing-in ceremony.Earlier, while hearing a plea filed by Congress, the Supreme Court refused to stall the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa.
The court, however, made it clear that the swearing-in and the government formation would be subject to the final outcome of the case before it.
The top court sought the letters which Yeddyurappa had written to Karnataka Governor informing him his election as BJP legislature party and posted the matter for further hearing at 10.30 am on Friday.
In a midnight legal push, the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) had approached the Supreme Court seeking an immediate intervention by the chief justice to stay the move, which it termed as an "encounter of the Constitution".
The Congress urged Chief Justice Dipak Misra to hold an urgent hearing on Wednesday night itself since Yeddyurappa is slated to take oath as chief minister at 9 am on Thursday.
In a joint petition, the two parties had sought a stay on the oath-taking taking ceremony of BJP's chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa.
The Governor on Wednesday invited Yeddyurappa to form the government, as the saffron party has emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats. Along with one independent MLA, the BJP has staked the claim at forming the government.
However, they are still short of the halfway mark of 112 by seven MLAs.
Whereas Congress-JD(S) alliance has 115 MLAs, just above the halfway mark.
"BJP has 104 seats, how will they prove majority on floor, even if they get some independent MLAs? Only way out is to bring Congress and JD(S) MLAs with them, either by using muscle power or buying MLAs. We have filed a petition urging Governor to give us a chance," Javed, lawyer of the JD(S) and Congress, told ANI.
Here are the latest developments in the tussle for power in Karnataka:
1. Yeddyurappa approves farm loan waiver: Yeddyurappa chaired his first cabinet meeting with him as the only member and approved a farm loan waiver for Karnataka's farmers. The newly appointed Chief Minister told the media that details of the waiver will be provided in a day or two.
2. Yeddyurappa takes oath: Yeddyurappa on Thursday took oath as the 23rd chief minister of Karnataka in the presence of Union Ministers JP Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan and Prakash Javadekar.
This is Yeddyurappa's third stint as Chief Minister of Karnataka.
The court, however, said that the swearing-in is subject to the final outcome of the matter before it.
The bench headed by Justice A K Sikri has directed further hearing of the matter at 10.30 am on Friday.
4. Court demands letters sent by the BJP to the governor: A three-judge bench, comprising justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, asked the Attorney General K K Venugopal to produce the letters sent by Yeddyurappa to the Karnataka Governor.
5. Congress calls Governor's decision unconstitutional: In a petition filed late on Wednesday night after Governor Vala invited Yeddyurappa to form the government in Karnataka, the Congress and the JD(S) called the Governor's decision "unconstitutional" and demanded a stay on Yeddyurappa's swearing-in ceremony.
6. 'Biggest license to poaching': Arguing on behalf of the Congress and JD(S), Singhvi told the bench that the governor has negated democracy by not calling the alliance commanding majority in Karnataka.
"It is the biggest license to poaching if the governor gives 15 days to BJP to prove majority as in earlier such cases 48 hours were given by SC," Singhvi said.
He said the BJP has 104 MLAs and Governor invited B S Yeddyurappa to form govt in "unconstitutional manner", even as JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy along with the Congress has 116 MLAs supporting him.
7. Mukul Rohatgi defends Karnataka Governor: Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi defended Karnataka Governor's decision to administer oath to Yeddyurappa on Thursday morning at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru.
"Governor has discretion to call largest party and he has done so. If single largest party won't be able to form government, other party will be called. In case of Goa elections, single largest party Congress had not presented its side, that's the difference," said Rohatgi, who is appearing for BJP in the hearing of the petition filed by Congress and JD(S) challenging the Governor's decision.
8. Youth Congress protests against BJP, Karnataka Governor: The youth wing of the Congress on Wednesday staged a protest outside Parliament House against the Centre and the decision of the Karnataka Governor to invite Yeddyurappa for government formation.
Youth Congress workers gathered outside Parliament and raised slogans against the government as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
9. Governor invites Yeddyurappa to form the government: The Karnataka Governor on Wednesday invited BJP legislature party leader B S Yeddyurappa to form the government, as the saffron party has emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats. Along with one independent MLA, the BJP has staked the claim at forming the government.
10. Security stepped up around CJI residence, SC: Security was beefed up on Wednesday night and a strong posse of policemen deployed on the way leading to the 5 Krishna Menon Marg residence of CJI Deepak Misra, after news spread that the Congress has approached the apex court against Karnataka Governor's decision to invite the BJP to form the government in the southern state.
As a midnight political drama was played out, traffic was diverted and barricades were placed at various places on the Krishna Menon Marg.
With agency inputs