Karnataka fallout: Congress MLAs shifted by bus to Kerala resort; updates

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa flashes the victory sign after his swearing-in ceremony, at Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru. Photo: PTI
BJP legislature party leader B.S. Yeddyurappa took oath as the Karnataka Chief Minister here on Thursday, hours after the Supreme Court declined to stay his swearing-in ceremony.

Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to Yeddyurappa at 9 a.m. at the Raj Bhavan amid tight security. The beleaguered Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leaders, however, protested against the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa and termed the Governor's decision "unconstitutional".

"Constitutionally, we (JD-S and Congress) should have been given the chance to form the government as we together have the majority in the assembly. The Governor's decision to invite the BJP to form the government is against the Constitution," state unit Congress chief G. Parameshwara told reporters here.

Earlier, a three-judge bench of the apex court rejected a joint writ petition, filed by the Congress and the JD-S on Wednesday night, to halt the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as the Chief Minister at a special pre-dawn hearing. The top court, however, said the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa was subject to the final outcome of the matter before it and posted the case for further hearing at 10.30 a.m on Friday.

Although the BJP emerged as the single-largest party winning 104 seats in the May 12 assembly election, it fell short of eight seats from the 112-halfway mark in the lower House, in which the Congress trailed behind with 78 wins and the regional JD-S 37 seats. This is the third time Yeddyurappa took oath as the state Chief Minister, a decade after he became the BJP's first Chief Minister in south India in May 2008 when the party came to power for the first time in the southern state.

In a related development, the Congress and the JD-S have lodged their newly-elected legislators at a resort on the city's outskirts, ostensibly to prevent them being poached by the BJP, which they alleged was indulging in "horse trading" to win over their MLAs. "We have a need to safeguard our MLAs from poaching by the BJP, which is why they have been moved to a resort on the city outskirts," Kumaraswamy told reporters later.

Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said the party had the support of all its legislators and its leadership was in touch with all the legislators.

Here are top developments in the Congress-BJP battle over Yeddyurappa forming government in Karnataka:

1. Congress MLAs taken to Kochi:
According to a report in News18, Congress is shifting their MLAs through buses from the Eagleton resort in Bengaluru to the Crown Plaza hotel in Kochi, Kerala after DGCA denied permission for chartered flights. Although, the party has not confirmed this, sources said that 100 rooms in the hotel have been booked. 

2. Inspired by BJP, Congress now eyes Goa: Congress Goa in-charge Chella Kumar to leave for Goa today, he with other party leaders will meet the Guv tomorrow & say that being the single largest party Congress should be invited to form govt in Goa. If necessary Congress can parade its MLAs also at Governor house: Sources.

"In 2017, we won 17 seats and were single largest party and continue to be but Governor chose to invite the BJP, which had 13 seats. In Karnataka, Governor invited BJP as they are the single largest party. So, we now appeal to the Governor to invite us to form govt," said Yatish Naik of the Congress party.

Former Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh and former Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma have sought time from respective Governors of the state for a meeting tomorrow.

3. Congress is making funny claims, says Javadekar: In an attempt to counter accusations by the Congress party for electing BJP’s B S Yeddyurappa in Karnataka, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “Whatever BJP has done in Karnataka is in accordance with rule book. Congress is ill informed and as a result is making these funny claims. They don't have faith in their MLAs as they have held them captive in a resort. JD(S) and Congress are scared after being exposed”.

4. Karnataka fallout 'murder of democracy', says Yashwant Sinha: Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala inviting the BJP to form the government in the state has led to a situation wherein MLAs will be auctioned under the Indian Political League the way cricketers are auctioned in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said today.

Sinha staged a protest outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan today against the Governor's decision, and alleged that the unconstitutional move amounted to murder of democracy.

5. Congress and the JD(S) did not have a pre-poll alliance: Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan today defended Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala's move to invite B S Yeddyurappa to form the government in the state, saying the BJP was the single largest party while the Congress and the JD(S) did not have a pre-poll alliance.

"The people have given maximum seats to the BJP. There was no pre-poll alliance of any party. After the poll, there was an alliance and they made (HD) Kumaraswamy made the leader (of the coalition). There was no pre-poll alliance like Bihar," said Pawan.

Responding to a question on the demand by the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) leader and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav that his party be invited to form the government in Bihar as it is the single largest party, Paswan said the RJD-Congress-Janata Dal (United) had a pre-poll alliance and Nitish Kumar was the chief ministerial face of the alliance, reported PTI.

ALSO READ: Karnataka assembly poll verdict: How brokerages interpret the developments

6. AICC urges Congress workers to launch nation-wide dharnas: All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary Ashok Gehlot has issued an official letter requesting all Pradesh Congress Committees, leaders and workers to organise state-wide dharnas tomorrow at state capitals and district head quarters to protest against Karnataka Governor for inviting BJP’s B S Yedurappa to form government in Karnataka.

All India Congress Committee General Secy Ashok Gehlot issues letter requesting all Pradesh Congress Committees, leaders & workers to organise state-wide dharnas at state capitals&dist HQs tomorrow to protest against K'taka Guv for inviting BS Yedurappa for making govt in K'taka. pic.twitter.com/5dCrttZZyp

— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2018
7. After Congress, RJD now eyes power in Bihar: Karnataka Governor's decision to invite the BJP to form government has prompted former Bihar deputy CM and leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Tejashwi Yadav to declare that he would also stake a claim to form a new government in Bihar, as his Rashtriya Janata Dal, too, is the single largest party in the state which is currently ruled by a Janata Dal (United) and Bharatiya Janata Party alliance. "We would be holding a one-day dharna tomorrow (Friday) against the murder of democracy in Karnataka. We also request the Bihar Governor to dissolve the state government and like in Karnataka invite the single largest party, which in Bihar is the RJD," Tejashwi Yadav said.

How will BJP prove majority? Amit Shah has only one formula, horse-trading or sending agencies like CBI & ED behind MLAs of other parties. It's dictatorship by BJP. If we aren't united today then it was Bihar y'day, Karnataka today, can be MP or Rajasthan tomorrow: Tejashwi Yadav pic.twitter.com/dp6gXoBpwL

— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2018
Rohatgi said, “the rush projected by Congress for an immediate hearing in the Karnataka case was in no way akin to the life and death issue witnessed in 2015 when the Supreme Court had held a historic pre-dawn hearing, hours before Mumbai blast convict Yakub Memon was to be hanged”, PTI reported.

His contention was rebutted in the top court by a lawyer representing the Congress-JD(S) combine, who said the Constitution was going to be "hanged" in the Karnataka case.

8. DMK says Karnataka Governor's hasty move will lead to horse-trading: The DMK, a key southern ally of the Congress, today termed Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala's invite to the BJP to form government in the state "hasty" and "unconstitutional", and alleged that it would lead to horse-trading.

"The Karnataka Governor's hasty invitation to the BJP to form Government despite the majority of MLAs forming a post-poll alliance of INC-JD(S)-BSP is arbitrary & unconstitutional. Such a move will only serve to enable horse-trading and destroy our democratic foundations," DMK Working President M K Stalin tweeted.

In another tweet, he said, "People of Tamil Nadu are familiar with the BJP's efforts to protect the corrupt ADMK Government, which also incidentally does not enjoy the majority support in the Legislative Assembly. Constitutional institutions and principles are under threat from these actions."

9. Constitution under severe attack in the country, says Rahul: Against the backdrop of the political developments in Karnataka, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday lashed out at the BJP-led government at the Centre, saying Constitution was under "severe attack" in the country where an atmosphere of fear prevailed.

'Aisa Pakistan me hota hai (such things happen in Pakistan)': The Congress president on Thursday kicked up a row by comparing the present state of democratic institutions of the country with that of Pakistan. "RSS is making way into all institutions in the country. Aisa Pakistan ya tanashahi mein hota hai," ANI quoted Rahul Gandhi as saying. 

10. Congress, JD-S protest Yeddyurappa's swearing-in: Congress and JD(S) leaders on Thursday staged a protest against Yeddyurappa's swearing-in as the Karnataka Chief Minister, terming it unconstitutional.

The protest was held in front of the state legislature building soon after Yeddyurappa was administered the oath of office by Governor Vajubhai R Vala at the Raj Bhavan.

"Constitutionally, we (JD-S and Congress) should have been given the chance to form the government as we together have the majority in the assembly.

"This decision by the Governor to invite the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the government is against the Constitution," state unit Congress chief G Parameshwara told reporters in Bengaluru.

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