Three judges of the Supreme Court on Friday resumed hearing Opposition Congress party’s petition challenging Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to invite BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa to form a government in Karnataka after elections in the state threw up a hung house.
The Congress plans to protest against Governor Vala’s decision by observing Friday as ‘Save Democracy Day.’ It will hold demonstrations across the country and stake a claim to forming the government in Goa, where it emerged as the single largest party in the 2017 elections, but a BJP-led alliance was asked to govern the state. The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) together had asked Governor Vala to invite them to form the government in Karnataka, but the BJP as the single largest beat them.
Here are the live updates:
11:35pm: Supreme Court orders BS Yeddyurappa to take floor test in Karnataka Assembly on Saturday at 4pm.
11:32am: Order being dictated.
11:31am: Rohatgi asks for floor test on Monday, citing that Congress and JD(S) MLAs are outside the state. SC observes that the floor test will take place on Saturday at 2pm.
11:29am: Mukul Rohatgi, lawyer representing the BJP, questions the need for an immediate floor test, and asks for reasonable time. Supreme Court says there are precedents to fix time limits.
11:28am: Congress-JD(S) asks that no Anglo-Indian community member be nominated as MLA before the floor test. SC asks Governor the same.
11:27am: Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal asks for appointment of an interim Speaker for the floor test.
11:23am: Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who is representing the Karnataka government, says the Governor has not received a signed letter from the Congress-JD(S).
11:16am: In case of a floor test being conducted tomorrow, Singhvi seeks security for Congress-JD(S) MLAs. Supreme Court observes that it can pass an order to make proper security arrangements.
11:15am: Congress’ lawyer Singhvi demands a floor test be held in the Karnataka assembly tomorrow.
11:14am: Mukul Rohatgi claims BSY has majority. “Does he have letters of support from them or it is mere ipse dixit of oral submissions?” Singhvi counters.
11:11am: SC says it will either hear the matter and decide, or order for a floor test tomorrow itself. Singhvi argues how could the governor have called Yeddyurappa to form government.
11:09am: Justice Sikri says let there be a floor test and let the House decide. Question is who should enter the arena first.
11:08am: Singhvi says Yeddyurappa claimed to be single largest party even before Election Commission declared the election results.
11:07am: Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Congress, says the SC must decide who should get the chance – Cong-JDS alliance or BJP.
11:03am: Justice AK Sikri observes the floor test tomorrow in the Karnataka assembly is an alternative. We don’t give time to anybody, he adds.
11am: Supreme Court says pre-poll alliance is different from a post-poll alliance.
10:58am: Not every MLA in Cong-JDS have signed the letter supporting the alliance, Rohatgi tells the court.
10:55am: Rohatgi tells the court that support will come from MLAs belonging to Congress-JDS. “I don’t want to say anything more at this stage,” he adds.
10:54am: SC wonders on what basis a Governor decides who can provide stable government – the single largest party or a written support of majority to Cong-JD(S).
10:53am: SC tells Rohatgi that on one hand he claims to be the single largest party with support, but at the same time the Cong-JDS have given support in writing to Governor.
10:52am: Rohatgi reads out May 15 letter saying in the absence of a pre-poll alliance, BJP can form government as a single largest party. May 16 letter is by Yeddyurappa, saying he has support of others and requisite majority.
10:51am: Counsel for BJP, Mukul Rohatgi hands over to the court letters from BS Yeddyurappa staking claim to form the Karnataka government. Rohatgi says Yeddyurappa has the necessary support and is ready to prove his majority on floor of House.
10:46am: Supreme Court hearing begins.
10:42am: BJP’s Sadananda Gowda confident of party winning case. “Certainly (BJP has the numbers), without that how can we form the govt?” he tells ANI. Commenting on the MLAs being taken to Hyderabad, he says, “It is their right no? They can take them anywhere, even to Pakistan.”
10:28am: Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi is representing the BJP in Supreme Court. “We’ll show CM’s (Yeddyurappa) letter to court. It shows he has support and support will be shown in the house. There is no issue of horse-trading, it is the other way as MLAs have been taken to resorts,” he says, adding the BJP has the numbers to prove majority.
10am: The BSE Sensex drifts lower by another 125 points in early trade today amid unabated foreign fund outflows and surging global crude oil prices. Investors are also keeping an eye on the political developments in Karnataka.
9:57am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishes former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Deve Gowda on his birthday. “Spoke to our former Prime Minister Shri HD Deve Gowda Ji and conveyed birthday wishes to him. I pray for his good health and long life,” Modi tweets. The message comes amid the ongoing battle between the BJP and the Congress-JD(S) combine over formation of the new Karnataka government.
9:53am: The MLAs travelled in buses run by Sharma Travels, which is owned by a Congress sympathiser.
9:46am: JD(S) and Congress MLAs reach Hyderabad. Sources tell HT that the legislators will stay at hotel Park Hyatt.
8:10am: JD(S) minister in Kerala, MT Thomas, says he is going to Kurnool to meet the party lawmakers. “I’m definite they (party’s Karnataka MLAs) aren’t coming by flight, so I’m moving to Kurnool… I was expecting them yesterday but the Civil Aviation department didn’t give permission for the charter flight,” he says, according to ANI.
8:10am: JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy has said his party MLAs along with the Congress will “stay united at same place” in order to prevent “horse-trading” ahead of the trust vote in the assembly.
8am: Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, the junior home minister in the Narendra Modi government, says Congress president Rahul Gandhi “insulted the country” when he compared Karnataka political turmoil with Pakistan.
7:34am: Supreme Court bench scheduled to continue hearing Congress-JD(S) petition at 10:30am.
7:30am: MLAs of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) who were staying at Shangri-La Hotel in Bengaluru are expected to stay in Hyderabad. Late night reports said the legislators changed buses on the highway to head to the Telangana capital city.