Updated: November 4, 2019 5:15:26 pm
The Karnataka unit of the Congress Monday requested the Supreme Court to consider fresh material in connection with the MLA disqualification case. The party was referring to a purported audio clip of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, in which he indicated that the rebellion of 17 Congress and JD(S) rebels in July was orchestrated by BJP president Amit Shah.
A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana said it would ask Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to constitute a bench on Tuesday to consider the material.
The Supreme Court, which is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the disqualification of 15 Karnataka MLAs, had on October 25 reserved its judgment.
The MLAs had resigned from the Assembly in July in a bid to topple the Congress-JD(S) government in the state and facilitate the formation of a Yediyurappa-led BJP government with a narrow majority of five seats. They were later disqualified from the House by the Speaker.
If the apex court rules against the disqualification, the MLAs will be eligible to contest bypolls to the 15 seats.
In the purported audio clip, BSY is heard saying, “The way people have spoken today, it does not seem like there is a desire to save the government. You know that the decision to obtain the support of these 17 MLAs was not a decision taken by Yediyurappa alone. The national president of the party (Amit Shah) himself supported the move and the rebels were kept in Mumbai for two-and-a-half months.”
“We would have been in opposition for three-and-a-half years but we have been brought to power by the rebels who resigned and approached the Supreme Court to seek acceptance of their resignations… ’’ he said in the clip. “I am hurt and I did not expect this from you… it is good the party president is present here… let the central leadership decide.”
Tough road ahead for Karnataka BJP
The leaked clip may reunite the Congress and JD(S) camps which have been in disarray since the fall of the Kumaraswamy-led coalition government. The BJP needs to win at least half of the seats in the December 5 bypolls to remain in power, and with increasing internal dissensions over several issues, BSY will have to tread cautiously if the party wants to avoid the prospect of fresh polls.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Saturday wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind on November 2 alleging the “murder of democracy”, and requested him to take cognisance of the “unethical, undemocratic and unconstitutional acts”.
“The… circumstances clearly indicate that Yediyurappa and Shah, who engineered defections have no legal and moral right to continue in office and Chief Minister and Union Home Minister,” the letter stated.
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