BJP loses Karnataka as CM Yeddy quits before trust vote (Roundup)

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Bengaluru, May 19 (IANS) In an anti-climax to the hectic political developments since the split verdict in May 12 Karanataka Assembly polls, the BJP lost power in Karnataka as Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa resigned on Saturday before the trust vote, as he did not have the numbers to prove his majority.

His resignation paved the way for formation of a Congress-Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) government headed by H. D. Kumaraswamy.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the trust vote, saying he would have learnt lessons from Yeddyurappa having been forced to resign as the Karnataka Chief Minister two days after he was sworn in.

The order for advancing the trust vote to Saturday came from the Supreme Court as the Congress and the JD-S filed a petition challenging Governor Vajubhai Vala’s invitation to Yeddyurappa to form government and his giving the BJP leader 15 days to prove majority.

While the BJP emerged as the single-largest party, the Congress and the JD-S, which formed a post-poll alliance, said they had the required numbers to form the government.

A little ahead of the appointed time of trust vote at 4 p.m, Yeddyurappa made an emotional speech, saying the BJP didn’t get the numbers needed to prove majority in the House. “I will lose nothing if I lose power, my life is for the people,” he said.

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In his 15-minute address to the House, the 75-year-old BJP leader said there was no way he could have served the people of Karnataka, as the Congress was not allowing its MLAs even to speak to their family members.

Lamenting that hundreds of farmers had committed suicides across the state during the last five years, Yeddyurappa said the Congress could not ensure water for irrigating the farmlands in the state even 70 years after the Independence.

“My aim is to serve farmers till my last breath. I will also continue to serve all the people, including the Dalits, backward classes, weaker sections and the poor,” reiterated Yeddyurappa who was the first BJP Chief Minister in south India when the party came to power on its own in Karnataka in 2008 assembly election.

Expressing confidence of the BJP winning in all the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies from the state in the 2019 general elections, Yeddyurappa said the party would also win in 150 of the 224-member state assembly in the next elections.

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“It was my dream to be the Chief Minister of the state at a time Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister. If only people would have given us 113 seats instead of 104, we would have made this state a paradise. But I will fight for the state till my last breath. We will get 28 out of 28 seats in Lok Sabha and I will win 150 Assembly seats for Narendra Modi (in the next assembly elections),” Yeddyurappa said.

Asserting that the mandate showed that the state’s people have rejected the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), he said: “People have voted against the Congress’ misgovernance. I have faced many ‘agni pareeksha’ (trial by fire) in the past and this trust vote is just another one.”

He then announced his resignation and drove to Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala.

In Delhi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi launched a stinging attack on Modi stating that “PM is corruption” and there was no institution “worthy of respect of the Prime Minister, Amit Shah and the RSS”.

“I hope the BJP and the RSS learnt a lesson from this that the institutions of this country, the will of the people of this country cannot be disrespected,” he said.

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After a favourable verdict on their petition from the Supreme Court over the Governor’s decision early on Wednesday, which was given a rare late-night hearing, the Congress and the JD-S had again moved the apex court on Friday seeking ouster of K.G. Bopaiah as pro-tem Speaker of the Karnataka Assembly.

However, as the Karnataka government informed about the live telecast of the floor test proceedings to ascertain the majority support to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, the petitioners on Saturday decided not to press their plea against the pro-tem Speaker.

The May 12 election across the state in 222 constituencies out of total 224 threw up a hung House, with no party securing majority. Polls in two constituencies were deferred.

Of the 222 seats, the BJP won 104, Congress 78, Janata Dal-Secular 37, and one each was bagged by the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party, and an Independent.

As JD-S leader H.D. Kumaraswamy won from both Channapatna and Ramanagaram segments, the party’s effective strength in the House is 36.

The Congress and the JD-S had staked claim to form government with Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister.

–IANS

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