Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Karnataka conundrum

Article 163 (2) If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.

Karnataka went to polls on 12/5/2018. After that there have been twists in the tale.

First twist was after the polls and before counting of votes. Siddaramaiah was Congress CM candidate. A day after polling he said he was ready to step aside if party wants Dalit CM. MLAs have to agree to that.

Counting took place on 15th May. At one time BJP was leading in more than 112 seats. It came down and BJP ended with 104 seats. Congress won 78 seats. JD(S) won 37 seats. JD(S) ally BSP got one seat.

Second twist was Congress support to JD(S) H. D. Kumaraswamy as CM. Congress President Rahul Gandhi had referred to JD(S) as B team of BJP and (S) in JD(S) stood for (Sangh Parivar). Congress said Governor should invite Kumaraswamy to form government.

B. S. Yeddyurappa staked his claim to form government. On 16th May Governor Vajubhai Vala invited him to form government and prove majority in 15 days.

As mentioned in Article 163(2) it is Governor’s discretion to invite anyone to form government. For a long time Supreme Court did not admit any petition regarding inviting anyone to form government or dismissing any government. That changed with Bommai case. In 1998 BJP had gone to Supreme Court against UP Governor’s decision. On 24/2/1998 Supreme Court ordered floor test on 26/2/1998. Kalyan Singh got 225 votes and won. Jagdambika Pal got 196 votes and lost.

This time Congress went to Supreme Court on 16th May. Supreme Court sat after midnight, it was 17th May. This was unusual and unnecessary. This was third twist. Supreme Court did not stay BSY’s swearing in. It fixed 18th May to decide on 15 days time given to prove majority.

Fourth twist was on 18th May. Supreme Court fixed 4 p.m. on 19th May as time for vote of confidence. This was a blow to BJP. Congress and JD(S) MLAs were in Hyderabad and it was difficult to make some of them resign on switch sides.

Supreme Court vacation began on 19th May. Karnataka Governor had appointed K. G. Bopaiah as pro-tem Speaker. Fifth twist was Congress-JD(S) went to Supreme Court against his appointment and wanted R. V. Deshpande of Congress as pro-tem Speaker. It cited convention. Supreme Court said there were cases when Seniormost MLA was not made pro-tem Speaker. Convention is not law. It cannot direct Governor to appoint Seniormost MLA as pro-tem Speaker.

Sixth twist was at 4 p.m. on 19th May. BSY did not move motion of confidence in Legislative Assembly. He announced his resignation.

Governor invited Kumaraswamy to form government. He was to take oath on 21st May. Then came the seventh twist. Oath taking had to be postponed to 23rd May because 21st May is death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi. I do not know why it could not be on 22nd May.

More twists are on the way. On 20th May Mallikarjuna Kharge spoke of give and take. Kumaraswamy said there will be no Rotational Chief Ministership.

BSY was CM for 55 hours. He will be caretaker CM for more than 86 hours.

Updated: May 21, 2018 — 4:57 pm

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