Updated: July 28, 2019 9:26:10 pm
The BJP’s party chief in Karnataka, B S Yediyurappa, took oath as the chief minister on Friday as a consequence of his party defeating the Congress-JDS coalition in a trust vote on July 23. It is the second time that Yediyurappa has been invited to form the government in the 15th Karnataka Legislative Assembly elected in May 2018.
Earlier, the BJP leader, whose party is the single largest in the legislature with 105 members, was invited by the Governor to form the government in May 2018. The government lasted only for two days because Yediyurappa could not prove his majority in the 224 member house where the Congress-JDS combination mustered a superior number of 116.
Yediyurappa, who sworn in as Chief Minister for the fourth term, is likely to face the same dangers that he encountered in his two-day, third term last year as the numbers in the legislature continue to be stacked against him despite the collapse of the Congress-JDS coalition a few days ago.
Yediyurappa is dependent now on the Speaker of the Karnataka Assembly accepting the resignation of as many as 12 Congress MLAs and three JDS MLAs—whose absence from the legislature helped the BJP win the trust— in order to survive in office longer than before.
In the alternative, Yediyurappa would hope for these 15 MLAs to be disqualified as legislators just like three Congress MLAs – Ramesh Jharkiholi, Mahesh Kumatahalli and R Shankar – were disqualified on Thursday under the anti-defection law by the Speaker.
Acceptance of resignations or disqualifications will put the BJP at 105 plus one Independent while the Congress will be down to 65 and the JDS 34 – a total of 99 – putting Yediyurappa on safe ground and not subject to the whims and fancies of the Congress and JDS.
The normal strength of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly is 224 members. In the 15th Assembly, there were 105 BJP legislators, Congress 79, JDS 37, BSP 1 and two Independents.
Yediyurappa can at best enjoy a tenure of at least six months in a truncated 206 member house (the halfway mark being 104) before fresh elections will be needed to fill in vacancies caused by the disqualifications/resignations – if affected by the Speaker.
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