Hours after the Supreme Court ordered a floor test Saturday in the Karnataka Assembly to decide the fate of the B S Yeddyurappa government sworn in Thursday, a new row erupted after Governor Vajubhai Vala appointed BJP MLA and former Speaker K G Bopaiah as pro tem Speaker to conduct the test on the floor of the House.
The Congress objected and moved the Supreme Court which will hear the matter at 10.30 am Saturday — the floor test is scheduled for 4 pm.
Challenging the appointment of Bopaiah as pro tem Speaker, the Congress pointed out that he had courted controversy in 2010 when, as Speaker, he disqualified 11 BJP MLAs who had revolted against Yeddyurappa and announced withdrawal of support.
The disqualification ahead of the trust vote had ensured the survival of the Yeddyurappa government. The decision was upheld by the High Court but the Supreme Court overturned it in 2011, criticising the “partisan trait” of the Speaker and actions that did not “meet the twin tests of natural justice and fair play’’.
The Congress also said that Bopaiah’s appointment was against the convention of naming the most senior MLA in the House as pro tem Speaker — in this case, R V Deshpande of the Congress, elected eight times.
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The party urged the Supreme Court to direct that the floor test be videotaped and the test itself be conducted through “a division into separate and segregated lobbies so that the persons in the different lobbies can be counted in a transparent manner”.
Addressing a press conference, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala called Bopaiah “dented and tainted” and alleged that he was the same person who as Speaker had denigrated and violated the Constitution, laws and rules to save the Yeddyurappa government in 2010.