Karnataka is headed for a fiery floor test at 4 PM that will possibly settle the dust in the southern state, mired in controversy due to political instability ever since the results were announced on May 15. But before that, a plea filed by the Congress party against appointment of BJP MLA KG Bopaiah would be also be heard by the Supreme Court at 10:30 AM.
Bopaiah, an old RSS hand, was administered the oath as pro-tem speaker by Vala. Bopaiah was the speaker of the Assembly between 2009 and 2013. Considered close to Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, he had disqualified 11 disgruntled BJP and five independent MLAs ahead of a trust vote to help the Yeddyurappa government in 2011. His decision was upheld by the Karnataka High Court but overturned by the Supreme Court, which said Bopaiah had acted in haste.
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the floor test in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 PM for May 19, drastically slashing the 15-day window given by the Governor to BJP Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa to prove majority.
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The bench, which also comprised Justices S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, turned down Yeddyurappa's request for a secret ballot during the floor test and also directed the Karnataka government and the Governor not to nominate any MLA from the Anglo-Indian community to participate in the voting to prove majority.
It asked the newly elected government not to take any policy decision till it proved majority in the House, while also making it clear that it would later deal with the constitutionality of the Governor's letter inviting Yeddyurappa to form government.
The bench said the pro tem Speaker will take decisions in accordance with the law on the issue of floor test and ordered the authorities, including the Director General of Police, to ensure law and order outside the Karnataka Assembly.
The BJP has 104 MLAs and seven additional votes are required if the Yeddyurappa government is to survive, which it can only by persuading the newly formed alliance's lawmakers to defect to its side, resign or abstain from voting.
Resignation of 16 lawmakers would bring down the number required for victory during the trust vote to 103, one less than what the BJP has.
Kumaraswamy had claimed the BJP was trying to repeat "Operation Kamala" to come to power in the state. 'Kamal' (lotus) is the BJP's election symbol and the term "Operation Kamala" was used in 2008 when the BJP under Yeddyurappa did not have a majority of its own in the Assembly, and its leaders managed to persuade three Congress and four JD(S) MLAs to resign, allegedly by offering them money and office.
They later contested by-polls on BJP ticket and five of them won. It had done the trick for the BJP as their resignations brought down the number required to prove majority in the House.
In the other two secenarios, where MLAs of the combine cross-vote or abstain from voting, they would attract the provisions of the anti-defection law and can be disqualified.
Statistics are, however, clearly against the BJP, as its rival alliance has the support of 116 MLAs--Congress (78), JD(S) (37) and its pre-poll partner BSP one. It has also claimed the support of an independent MLA.
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WATCH VIDEO: All eyes on crucial floor test in Karnataka tomorrow