Moments after the Supreme Court allowed BS Yeddyurappa’s swearing in ceremony to go ahead as scheduled on Thursday, it emerged that one key Congress MLA was missing. Anand Singh, who has been missing since yesterday with some alleging that he was ‘under the clutches of the MHA in Delhi.’
The JDS chief HD Kumaraswamy said that the central government was using the Enforcement Directorate to blackmail Singh into siding with the BJP, which desperately needs eight more MLAs’ support to secure the majority in the Karnataka assembly.
Quoting Singh, Kumaraswamy said, “Modi government is misusing institutions of the central government. I know they are threatening MLAs. A Congress MLA told me Anand Singh called him and told him ‘they are using ED (Enforcement Directorate), I had a case in ED and they are going to screw me. I’m sorry I have to protect my interest’.”
Anand Singh was originally with the BJP before he switched side to join the Congress. He faces charges of illegally transporting iron ore and was even arrested in 2013 before being released on bail in 2015.
Another MLA, Pratapgouda Patil, too did not report on the bus last night. He’s described as the poorest MLA in the last assembly.
One independent, R Shankar, who the Congress had vowed his support to its coalition with the JDS, was seen with the BJP on Wednesday before once again returning to the former’s fold. The Congress-JDS combine has 117 MLAs, five more than the required majority, while the BJP has just 104 MLAs, eight short of the majority. The opposition parties have accused the BJP of misusing the central government agencies to blackmail some of the Congress and JDS MLAs into supporting the saffron party during the floor test.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Thursday, “The BJP’s irrational insistence that it will form a Govt. in Karnataka, even though it clearly doesn’t have the numbers, is to make a mockery of our Constitution. This morning, while the BJP celebrates its hollow victory, India will mourn the defeat of democracy.”
This came a day after the JDS supremo alleged that the BJP was approaching his MLAs with Rs 100 crore each to buy their support. This was followed by a midnight courtroom drama in the Supreme Court, which after hearing the case on an urgent basis, allowed Yeddyurappa’s swearing in ceremony to go ahead as planned.
Meanwhile, senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani on Thursday approached the Supreme Court in his personal capacity against Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision of inviting BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa to form a new government in the state despite being eight short of a simple majority in the assembly.
The bench headed by Justice AK Sikri, while seeking Yeddyurappa’s response on the petition by Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) seeking to stall his swearing-in, has directed further hearing of the matter at 10.30 a.m. on Friday.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud asked Jethmalani to mention his plea on Friday before the bench concerned. Jethmalani, who had taken retirement from law practice, told the bench that the Karnataka Governor’s order is a “gross abuse of Constitutional power,” reported IANS.
The apex court early on Thursday after a midnight hearing refused to stall the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as Karnataka’s new Chief Minister.
Yeddyurappa took the oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Raj Bhavan amid tight security.
The court, however, sought the communications which Yeddyurappa had written to Karnataka Governor informing him his election as BJP legislature party.
The apex court said that the swearing-in is subject to the final outcome of the matter before it.