The Congress may move Supreme Court if the Karnataka governor does not invite HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (Secular) to form the new government in the state with the help of the grand old party, sources said on Wednesday.
“In case, the governor doesn’t call us, we believe that it is a strong case to go to the Supreme Court,” one of the party’s senior legal brains said.
Sources in the Congress added that its top legal brains such as Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Kapil Sibal and Vivek Tankha may be roped in to challenge any “adverse” decision of governor Vajubhai Vala.
The Congress lent unconditional support to former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s son to form the government in the state where a hung assembly has emerged with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the largest party with 104 seats.
The Congress won 78 seats and the JD(S) 37, and they said they have the numbers to run the 224-member House. The bloc also claimed the support of two independent candidates and an MLA of the Bahujan Samaj Party, which is an ally of Deve Gowda’s party.
“Denial by govnor 2cong JDS after assertion of joint numbers wld b illegal,unctal & contrary to(1) kavlekar judgement of Goa by SC(2) Sarkaria Comm (3) rule that single party rule inapplicable where anr combination has more numbers(4) against KR Narayanan, Goa, manipur precedents (sic),” Singhvi tweeted on Wednesday.
Ironically, the Congress counsels may cite the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Goa government formation — which went against the Congress — to argue their case in Karnataka.
The BJP quickly formed a post-poll coalition and claimed the chief minister’s chair after the Goa election last year even as the Congress emerged as the largest party but fell short of a majority.
Goa governor Mridula Sinha invited the coalition to form the government, ignoring the Congress’ claim that the largest party should be given the first chance to show its strength.
The bench comprising the then Chief Justice JS Khehar, justice RK Agrawal and justice Ranjan Gogoi rejected the Congress’ arguments and asked for a quick floor test. The court also ruled that since the Congress did not demonstrate its numbers, the governor was free to apply “discretionary powers”.
“When no political party is in majority, then it is the bounden duty of the governor to see who can form the government. If nothing happens, then the governor is duty-bound to call the leader of the single largest party but if someone goes to the governor with a list of supporters, then it is a different issue altogether,” the bench said.
The BJP’s Karnataka chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa met the governor on Wednesday, the second time in two days, and requested him to invite his party to form the government “as early as possible”.
The governor, he said, assured him that he would take an “appropriate” decision as early as possible.
“Clearly, the Karnataka governor knows now the size of the declared and asserted coalition who has written to him. So calling the single party logic doesn’t apply in this fractured mandate,” a prominent legal brain of the Congress said.
“However, we are apprehensive that politics might take over precedence,” the senior Congress leader added.
Meanwhile, Efforts to form a government in Karnataka picked up pace on Wednesday after election results were declared. The Congress and JD(S) which together have 115 seats in the new assembly have accused the BJP, which is nine seats short of a majority, of horse-trading.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by BS Yedyurappa met Governor Vajubhai Vala to stake claim to form government.
The governor said appropriate decision would be taken as early as possible, BJP legislative party leader BS Yeddyurappa said after the meeting.
Meanwhile, the Congress, led by Siddaramaiah, said it has extended unconditional support to JD(S) to form a government led by HD Kumaraswamy.
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6:30pm: BJP MPs Shobha Karandlaje, GM Siddeshwara and PC Mohan write to home minister Rajnath Singh stating, “we have every reason to believe that Karnataka government is misusing its power and tapping our mobile phones. This is a clear violation of our fundamental right to privacy.”
6:18pm: “The allegations that Siddaramaiah made on PM Modi that he has allowed horse trading in Karnataka is condemnable, false, irresponsible and baseless,” says Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
6:05pm: “The Congress has decided to support the JD(S) to form government in Karnataka to keep the BJP out of power,” senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily tells PTI.
6:00pm: “The governor has assured that he will take action as per the Constitution. We have full faith in him that he will not do injustice. We have our numbers, not even a single member has moved out. We will not allow any such thing to happen,” says Congress leader DK Shivakumar.
5:45pm: People in power are murdering democracy, says Congress leader Ashok Gehlot.
“The governor is not inviting Kumaraswamy due to BJP’s pressure. There is a clear cut majority, and yet there has been no invitation,” he adds.
5:40pm: Congress leader G Parameshwara says the governor has assured that the way the decision was made in Goa and Meghalaya, the same way it will be looked at in Karnataka.
5:37pm: “In the past the parties that had post-alliance strength were invited to form the government. The governor has accepted our appeal and said he will consider Supreme Court judgments and Constitutional provisions,” says Kumaraswamy.
5:35pm: “We have submitted the necessary documents which show that we have the numbers required to form the government. He (governor of Karnataka) promised he will consider according to the Constitution,” says HD Kumaraswamy after meeting the governor.
“We have submitted a list of 117 MLAs to governor and requested him to consider our claim to form government. He has assured us that he will study the matter and take a decision. Legislative party meetings have been held and the decision taken by us and the Congress have been conveyed to the governor by Congress state president Parameshwara and me,” he adds.
5:20pm: JD(S) workers protest against BJP outside Governor house in Bengaluru: ANI. Congress leaders also reach Raj Bhawan.
5:00pm: Kumaraswamy reaches Raj Bhawan with busload of JD(S) MLAs.
Have enough numbers to form a stable government, says Kumaraswamy.
4:55pm: HD Kumaraswamy leads delegation to Raj Bhawan to meet governor Vajubhai Vala: ANI.
3.45pm: JD(S) and Congress will meet governor Vala at 5pm, reports ANI.
3.43pm: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah says MLAs who switch parties should be banned from contesting polls for one term. “Simply disqualifying defecting MLAs isn’t enough to stop horse trading since most of them come back with a mandate of their newly discovered party. They should be barred from fighting elections for a period of not less than 1 term,” he tweets.
3.23pm: If Congress and JD(S) are not invited by the governor, then the MLAs will sit on a dharna outside Raj Bhawan from tomorrow, and MPs may also join them, reports ANI quoting sources.
3.10pm: CPI general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy expresses doubt over JD(S) and Congress being allowed to form government together. “It’s good they have come together but we have doubts. Raj Bhavan as the ‘centre of conspiracies’ by the BJP… they may not allow them even though they have required numbers, may not be allowed to form the government,” Reddy told PTI.
3.07pm: On whether Congress will take the legal route, Ghulam Nabi Azad says “Stealing of MLAs shouldn’t be allowed. No governor can go against the Constitution. We can’t tell you whom we’ll approach and whom not. At this juncture, we’ve complete faith in the governor that he’ll go by Constitution and not party politics.”
3.06pm: Ghulam Nabi Azad says Congress and JD(S) have been seeking an appointment with the governor since 12-12.30pm and are waiting to hear from the governor’s house.
“Both the Congress president and JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy have sought an appointment with the governor to hand over two letters signed by the legislature parties of Congress and JD(S),” he says.
2.56pm: Siddaramaiah thanks the people of Karnataka for their verdict.
2.50pm: Governor should convene the assembly quickly to settle the issue of majority as any delay would give elbow room for political parties to indulge in horse-trading, retired Supreme Court Judge N Santosh Hegde said.
“No party has got any majority and the happenings thereafter… I am not very happy because many unconstitutional methods are being tried to cobble up majority,” the former Solicitor General of India told PTI. “So, sooner the Governor calls the House and call upon the people to prove the majority, better it is.”
2.30pm: Siddaramaiah accuses PM Narendra Modi of encouraging horse-trading, reports PTI.
2.25pm: Signatures of JD(S) and Congress MLAs are being collected in support of Kumaraswamy. The document will be submitted to the governor later today.
2.09pm: Congress’ Shivakumar denies reports of wanting to be deputy chief minister. “No question of asking for anything. Our priority right now is to have a secular government. All the 78 MLAs are together.”
2.05pm: Karnataka Congress chief Parameshwara says, “All the MLAs are intact. Some of the MLAs came late because they came in a special flight from Bidar.” He was responding to reports of 12 Congress MLAs absent at the party’s legislative meeting in Bengaluru.
1.59pm: “Rs 100 crore figure is not only imaginary but it is what Congress-JDS do politics through. We are going by rules, we have submitted our claim to the Governor and are confident of forming government,” says Javadekar.
1.55pm: BJP’s Prakash Javadekar denies horse-trading allegations by Congress and JD(S). “They are levelling baseless charges against BJP. Poaching and horse-trading is not done by BJP. Congress is famous for it. Their own MLAs are not happy with their alliance.”
1.20pm: Congress will move Supreme Court if the governor invites BJP to form government.
1.15pm: Meanwhile, the Congress party’s official handle has tweeted,
1.14pm: Congress MLA TD Rajegowda says, “They (BJP) keep on calling but we don’t bother about it. I have clearly asked them not to call me. I am a committed Congress person.They have been doing this from long time. This is their job.”
1.03pm: “This is a bogus news. No Javadekar, no BJP leader has met me till now,” says Kumaraswamy on being asked about meeting with BJP’s Javadekar.
12.59pm: Congress is taking its MLAs to Eagleton resort in Bengaluru, say reports.
12.55pm: Kumaraswamy says he will meet the governor again along with Karnataka Congress president, G Parameshwara. “Congress has given us unconditional support, we have good understanding,” he says.
12.49pm: On being asked if he had met BJP Karnataka in-charge Prakash Javadekar, Kumaraswamy says, “Who is Javadekar? Who is that gentleman?”
12.41pm: “Forget ‘Operation Kamal’ being successful, there are people who are ready to leave BJP and come with us. If you try to poach one from ours, we’ll do the same and take double from you. I’m also telling the Governor to not take any decision which encourages horse-trading,” says Kumaraswamy.
12.39pm: Kumaraswamy slams BJP at the conference and says, “BJP’s Ashwamedha Yatra started in the north, the horses have been stopped in Karnataka. This verdict is to stop the Ashwamedha Yatra.”
12.37pm: R Shankar, independent MLA from Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP), has been spotted with the BJP delegation at the Governor House in Bengaluru, ANI reports.
Yeddyurappa said Shankar had submitted a letter offering his support to the BJP.
12.35pm: “I have been offered from both sides. I am not saying this loosely. There’s a black spot on my father’s career because of my decision to go with the BJP in 2004 and 2005. God has given me opportunity to remove this black spot. So I am going with Congress,” says Kumaraswamy.
12.27pm: “JD(S) MLAs are being offered Rs 100 crore . Where is this black money coming from? They are supposedly the servers of poor people and they are offering money today. Where are the income tax officials?” HD Kumaraswamy says at the press conference after the JD(S) party meeting.
12.13pm: BJP’s Bhagwanth Khuba says, “When it comes to proving the majority, party has to show numbers, we will do that for sure. I can’t speak openly but we will definitely prove the majority. It is BJP who was given the mandate by people.”
12.03pm: HD Kumaraswamy has been chosen as legislative party leader in a meeting of the JD(S) MLAs in Bengaluru, ANI reports.
11.49am: JD(S) leader A Manjunath says, “Kumaraswamy will be the chief minister and there’ll be a coalition government. That is the only truth. People want him to be the CM. These kind of machinations will happen but the fact is that HD Kumaraswamy will be CM. We won’t be influenced by anyone.”
11.46am: “The party has chosen me. I have given the letter to the governor and he will call me, that is what I am hoping. He told me that he will take an appropriate decision. I’ll inform you after I receive letter from governor,” says Yeddyurappa.
11.45am: Yeddyurappa says he met the governor and requested him to allow him to form government and let him take oath as chief minister. The governor said he will take a decision as early as possible, he says.
11.37am: 66 out of Congress’ 78 MLAs reached its legislative party meeting at the party office in Bengaluru, reports ANI.
11.31am: Congress MLA NA Harris says, “We have to protect the verdict of the people. They (BJP) are doing bad politics. We don’t have to stoop down to their level. We are 118 in number number, we don’t want anyone. No body has called me to the resort.”
Harris won the election from Shantinagar constituency.
11.27am: Congress dismisses reports of MLAs being poached. “We are all together. All this is false news. In fact, there are 6 BJP people who are in touch with us,” says MB Patil.
11.26am: Maharashtra NCP president Jayant Patil has expressed surprise over the Karnataka poll results and demanded the use of paper ballots in future elections instead of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). He claimed the ‘wave’ of BJP’s popularity was now receding and therefore, the NCP and the Congress were working towards forging alliance in future polls.
11.13am: Yeddyurappa has been elected as BJP’s legislative party leader and is headed to meet the governor, say reports.
11.08am: Congress party meet was delayed as MLAs Rajshekhar Patil, Nagendra and Anand Singh could not be traced, reports NDTV.
11.05am: Two JD(S) MLAs, Raja Venkatappa Nayaka and Venkata Rao Nadagouda, are missing from the party’s legislative party meeting which is going on at a hotel in Bengaluru, reports ANI.
10.55am: Former attorney general Mukul Rohtagi says, “The governor is obliged to call the largest party, which is the BJP. He should call BJP leader asking him if he can form government. If he says he can’t, governor will then call second party and if he says he can form government, governor should give him time to prove majority.”
10.52am: JD(S) legislative party meeting begins in Bengaluru.
10.50am: BJP’s DV Sadananda Gowda says, “We are the single largest party. You have seen how Congress and JD(S) were fighting six months back. Now, they want to come together and make government.”
10.45am: The BSE benchmark Sensex tumbled over 245 points in early session today amid uncertainty over government formation in Karnataka and sustained foreign fund outflows. The 30-share index was trading lower by 245.23 points, or 0.69 per cent, at 35,298.71.
10.40am: HD Kumaraswamy says, “We have already decided to go with Congress. That’s the reason we called JD(S) legislature party meeting. There is no question of taking any other decision.”
Congress and JD(S) have agreed on appointing Kumaraswamy as chief minister in the coalition government they seek to form.
10.35am: Prakash Javadekar says, “People want BJP government and we will make it. Anyone can create unnatural tensions, but people of Karnataka are with us. After meeting, we will take necessary steps. This attempt made by Congress to make a backdoor entry is not appreciated.”
10.22am: Yeddyurappa says, “During the legislature party meeting the leader will be elected. From there we will go to Raj Bhavan immediately. We will claim to form the govt. Most probably we will ask the Governor to give us time tomorrow.”
10.15am: Ram Madhav writes on Facebook about the fall of the BJP government in Gujarat in 1996 “thanks to Congress’ Governor Krishnapal Singh” and says karma has come to haunt Congress.
10.01am: Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, JP Nadda and Prakash Javadekar arrive at BJP office in Bengaluru for legislative party meeting. The three leaders are the party’s observers for Karnataka.
9.45am: “I don’t know what they (BJP) are offering but they are trying to call our people, but they are not responding. We are all together, no one can touch our party. Our party MLAs are loyal to the party:”says JD(S)’ Saravana.
9.41am: “JD(S) has all the faith in their MLAs. Nobody is going to go away. Let BJP try whatever they want to,” says Ghulam Nabi Azad.
9.35am: This is not the first time Karnataka stares at a possible coalition government with two parties — in this case the Congress and the JD(S) — coming together to try and form a government in the state.
9.26am: “JD(S) and Congress have the numbers. I hope the governor will discharge his constitutional duties and invite HD Kumaraswamy to talk. If BJP puts pressure on the governor, it will be the death of democracy,” JD(S)’ Danish Ali tell ANI.
9.22am: Congress’ Ramalinga Reddy tells ANI,“We believe in all our MLAs. BJP is trying hard to get them. They don’t believe in democracy, BJP just wants power. All the people are happy, nobody is unhappy here.”
Reddy is home minister in the Siddaramaiah government. He won this election from the BTM Layout seat.
9.18am: Siddaramaiah reaches the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office. “All the Congress MLAs are intact. Nobody is missing. We are confident of forming the government,” he says.
9.15am: Congress’ DK Shivakumar says there is a plan to shift the party MLAs. “Yes definitely there is a plan. We have to safeguard our MLAs, We will let you know what is the plan,” he says.
“They (BJP) are poaching our MLAs, we know that. Everyday there is a lot of pressure. But it not so easy because two parties have the necessary number. People are watching this,” Shivakumar says.
9.10am: “The single largest party doesn’t have the numbers. BJP has 104, we (Congress and JD-S) have 117. Governor cannot take sides. Can a person who is there to save the Constitution destroy it too? The governor has to cut all its previous associations, be it BJP or RSS,” Ghulam Nabi Azad tells ANI.
9.04am: BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai, on being asked how the party will get numbers to form government, says, “Political scenario will unfold in next 2-3 days. It depends on development in political parties. As of now, we aren’t approaching any individuals but politics is art of possibility.”
Bommai won from Shiggaon in the election.
8.59am: “I got a call from the BJP leaders. They said come to us and we’ll give a ministry to you. We’ll make you a minister. But, I’m going to stay here. HD Kumaraswamy is our chief minister,” says Amaregouda Linganagouda Patil Bayyapur of the Congress.
Bayyapur won from Kushtagi seat.
8.44pm: BJP’s KS Eshwarappa says,“There is no doubt we will form government, 100 per cent we’ll do that. Wait and watch. Results came out only yesterday. It has been only a day. See what can happen in Karnataka in a day.”
Eshwarappa won from Shivamogga constituency in the election.
8.37am: Congress general secretary and MP KC Venugopal and other Congress MLAs arrive at Karnataka Congress office for the party legislative meeting.
* The governor is said to have told both delegations BJP and the Congress-JD(S) delegations that he will take a decision once he receives communication from the election commission about the poll results.
* Siddaramaiah has called a meeting on Wednesday of the newly elected Congress and JD(S) MLAs will be there. “We are supporting JD(S) to form govt and have sent this resolution to the Governor. SC said after Goa election that group having more seats than required are invited, we have 117 seats, he said on Tuesday night.
* The BJP has also called a meeting of its newly-elected legislature party on Wednesday.
* Congress bagged a vote share of 38 per cent while the BJP got 36.2 per cent . The JD(S) finished third with a vote share of 18.3 per cent.
* Apart from the top three parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party both won one seat each.
* Results were declared for 222 of the 224 assembly seats, with voting in two constituencies countermanded.