The BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa today said he had staked claim to form government in Karnataka and would be sworn in this evening, ending speculation that his party was playing it cautious to secure numbers in the assembly three days after the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition failed a trust vote.
“Just now I met the governor to form government and take oath as chief minister. The government has agreed and the oath ceremony will take place between 6 and 6.15 pm,” Mr Yeddyurappa, a three-time chief minister, told reporters after meeting Governor Vajubhai Vala.
Mr Yeddyurappa’s moves this morning were swift and surprising after his two-day wait for a go-ahead from his leadership in Delhi, specifically BJP president Amit Shah. He is apparently even skipping the step of being formally elected by BJP lawmakers as their leaders. “As I’m already the Leader of the Opposition, there is need to call a legislature party meeting,” he said.
The 76-year-old has never completed a term before. His last stint was just 48 hours long. Sworn in right after the Karnataka election in May last year that yielded no clear winner, Mr Yeddyurappa resigned just before a trust vote, knowing he didn’t have the numbers. The Congress and Mr Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular then tied up to keep the BJP out of power.
The BJP has moved a day after the Karnataka Speaker disqualified three of the 17 rebel lawmakers whose exit brought down the 14-month Congress-JDS coalition.
Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar disqualified the Congress’s Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli, and independent legislator R Shankar, who pulled out of the coalition government and pledged support for the BJP.
The three cannot contest elections till the state assembly is dissolved, the Speaker said, adding: “the whole world knows the resignations were not voluntary or genuine.”
Fifteen legislators of the coalition set its downfall in motion with mass resignations earlier this month. On Tuesday, the coalition could manage only 99 votes to the BJP’s 105.
Thursday’s disqualifications bring down the strength of the House to 221, and the majority mark slides to 112.
The BJP, which has the support of 105 members, initially appeared disinclined to form a minority government and struggle for numbers, given that the status of the rebels was unknown.
In such a situation, President’s Rule in Karnataka had emerged as a spectre.
If the resignations of the rebel lawmakers are accepted, the strength of the house comes down to 105. But till the rebels are re-elected as BJP legislators, the BJP will be compelled to run a minority government.
“Let Yeddyurappa form the government, we wish him all the best. Let him prove numbers too.. We don’t want to comment, ultimately it’s the numbers and democracy,” said Congress leader DK Shivakumar, who failed to persuade the rebels to return and salvage the coalition.
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BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa To Take Oath At 6 pm As Karnataka Chief Minister – NDTV News