BJP leader Yediyurappa sworn in as Karnataka CM

Bengaluru: Three days after the Congress-JDS coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy collapsed, 76-year-old B S Yediyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister of Karnataka for a fourth time yesterday amidst high political drama in the State. But he still has to prove his majority.

Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to the BJP leader. Yediyurappa was the first to lead BJP to form a government in the south. The Swearing in ceremony was boycotted by JD(S) and Congress leaders.

Ahead of taking the oath as Karnataka Chief Minister, Yediyurappa said there would be no politics of vengeance in his rule and he would take the opposition along. Also, the BJP leader changed the spelling of his name from Yeddyurappa to Yediyurappa on Friday. He announced that he would move a motion of confidence in the assembly on 29 July to prove his majority.

The three-week long political drama began after the resignation of 15 rebel Congress and JDS MLAs. The development took a twist on Thursday when the assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar disqualified three rebel Congress MLAs. 

Yediyurappa became the CM in 2018, but had to step down within three days as he was unable to prove his majority despite BJP having emerged as the single largest party in the 2018 assembly polls and this threw up a hung verdict. H D Kumaraswamy formed the government in coalition with Congress.

Dismissing opposition’s claim that the BJP was responsible for the defection of legislators, BJP Working President J P Nadda said the coalition government fell due to infighting in the party. He assured that BJP will provide a stable regime.

On Yediyurappa being over the 75-year age bar the party has stipulated for its leaders holding any government position, Nadda said the Karnataka veteran was the leader of the BJP Legislature Party in the State and was natural for him to be the party’s choice for the chief minister’s post.

It is to be noted that Yediyurappa became the chief minister for the first time in November 2007 but his term in office lasted just seven days as Kumaraswamy reneged on a power-sharing arrangement and walked out of the JDS-BJP alliance then.

He assumed the high office very next year after the BJP came to power on its own but had to step down in July 2011 following his indictment by the then Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde in an illegal mining case.

The current strength of the 225-member assembly excluding the Speaker is 221 and the half-way mark 111. Present party position is BJP along with one independent 106, Congress 76 (including MLAs decision on whose resignations and disqualification plea is pending), JD(S) 37 (including resigned and pending disqualification), one BSP, one Nominated and the Speaker, who has a casting vote in case of a tie.

The Speaker is yet to decide on the resignations of 14 MLAs and disqualification petitions against them, three of whom are from JD(S) and the rest from the Congress.

BJP president Amit Shah congratulated Yediyurappa and expressed confidence the BJP party will run a stable, pro-farmer and development-oriented government under him. “Congrats to BS Yediyurappa, newly sworn in CM of Karnataka. I am sure under his leadership and under the guidance of PM Modi, BJP will give a stable, pro-farmer and development oriented govt in the state. I assure people of Karnataka that BJP is committed to fulfil their aspirations,” Shah, also the Union home minister, tweeted.

The Congress slammed the move for government formation, saying that since the BJP did not have the numerical strength, it could not stake claim nor take the oath for any reason. “Corruption Icon and Former Jail Bird Shri @BSYBJP has used his excellent Horse Trading skills to subvert democracy and come to power,” the state Congress tweeted. Condemning the BJP’s move, former chief minister and Congress leader Siddarmaiah said Karnataka has become an experimental lab of the BJP.

“In what article of the Constitution is the governor allowed to permit the party to form govt that doesn’t have majority? It is shame!!” he tweeted. The JD(S) dubbed the Governor’s decision to permit the BJP leader to take oath wihtout raising any questions on the numbers was “anti-democractic“.

NT Bureau