Jubilant after the fall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka, the BJP Wednesday initially indicated it would not rush to stake claim to government formation, but as the day wore on, the party drew up plans to approach Raj Bhavan either Thursday or Friday to press its claim.
Sources in the BJP said B S Yeddyurappa is likely to convene a meeting of party MLAs on Thursday before they approach Governor Vajubhai Vala. “Things will be on fast-forward in Bengaluru on Thursday,” party sources said in the evening.
The party initially indicated it may wait until the Supreme Court decides on the petitions of the rebel coalition MLAs, and the Speaker takes a stand on their resignations. But by evening, party leaders, who were consulting legal advisers, said the Supreme Court order may not have a bearing on the developments in the assembly and the Speaker can take a final decision on the rebel MLAs.
According to the Bommai judgment, the Speaker enjoys overwhelming powers in running the business of the assembly. And on Wednesday, Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar underlined that as long as the Tenth Schedule is in existence, its provisions would be applicable to legislators and political parties.
A BJP leader claimed that the party was also in touch with the Speaker. Another party leader from Karnataka said senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was trying to contact the rebel MLAs. “Several among the rebel MLAs are loyal to Siddaramaiah. We do not know what can unfold.” The BJP decision not to wait very long stems from the fear of Congress machinations.
Earlier in the day, Yeddyurappa did not convene a meeting of the BJP legislature party. His remark that he was “awaiting instructions from Delhi” to call the meeting before heading to the Raj Bhavan suggested that the BJP central leadership was in no hurry to form the government.
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A senior BJP leader too said: “We are not in a hurry to form the government. We have to settle a number of issues before going ahead with government formation. We want to ensure its stability first.”
“Let it be clear that there is no confusion or ambiguity over our position. The BJP will not seek dissolution of the state assembly, nor is President’s rule going to be imposed. Nor is there any lack of clarity on the leadership issue. We are also clear that Yeddyurappa will stake claim and form the government,” a senior party functionary said.
Meanwhile, two independent MLAs who had earlier sought the Supreme Court’s direction to hold the trust vote “forthwith” sought to withdraw their plea Wednesday. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, however, declined to pass any order as the senior counsel representing the MLAs as well as the Speaker were not present when the matter came up.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi had appeared for the Speaker while senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi represented the legislators. A lawyer informed the court that Rohatgi was out of Delhi, and requested the bench to allow the petition to be withdrawn. But the court did not yield and said “they have taken so much of our time” and “final orders will be passed when they appear”.