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Yeddyurappa Out, Kumaraswamy In

Two ‘missing’ Congress legislators show up in Assembly to support party


The less than three-day-old BJP government, led by B.S. Yeddyurappa, made way for a Congress-Janata Dal (S) alliance dispensation in Karnataka on Saturday in a tame end to a week-long political drama.

Mr. Yeddyurappa, who had taken oath as Chief Minister on May 17 after the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, resigned without facing the floor test on Saturday, convinced that he did not command the numbers in the House. Making an impassioned speech that he would fight for farmers “till the last breath” and that he would start touring the State again, Mr. Yeddyurappa walked out of the Assembly.

JD(S) leader’s plans

Later on Saturday evening, H.D. Kumaraswamy, president of the Karnataka State JD(S), was invited by Governor Vajubhai Vala to form the government. Mr. Kumaraswamy announced that he would take oath as Chief Minister on Wednesday. He is set to meet Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi on Monday.

The oath-taking function, earlier scheduled for Monday, was postponed to Wednesday as former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s death anniversary falls on Monday.

The day saw much political drama as both the BJP and the Congress-JD(S) camps claimed numbers in their favour. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition from the Congress party challenging the appointment of K.G. Bopaiah as pro tem Speaker. Even as the session was on, the Congress released audio recordings that allegedly had BJP leaders —including Mr. Yeddyurappa and BJP MLA B. Sriramulu — trying to woo Congress MLAs with inducements to shore up the numbers. The BJP’s hopes of getting the numbers dimmed as the morning wore on and it was clear by afternoon that they would not sail through.

When the two “missing” Congress MLAs — Anand Singh and Pratapgouda Patil — who were in a private hotel, turned up at the Vidhana Soudha to join the Congress camp, it brought more cheer to the Congress-JD(S) camp.

Mr. Yeddyurappa announced his resignation minutes later, while making an admission that the BJP had reached out to the opposition MLAs.

Speaking to the media in the evening, Mr. Kumaraswamy said that though the Governor had given him 15 days to prove his majority, he would do so much earlier.

Meanwhile, Congress-JD(S) MLAs were again herded into hotels in Bengaluru to keep the flock together till the new government proves its majority. “All MLAs will remain in Bengaluru. Both parties’ MLAs will be housed at a common place,” Mr. Kumaraswamy added.