Fearing another Goa, Cong drafted SC plea for largest party to be invited first
Changed Petition At Last Moment After Ending 2nd
urs of Thursday, after a dramatic hearing that began at 2.10am and stretched on for three-anda-half hours. A three-judge bench of Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan was asked by CJI Dipak Misra to hear a joint petition filed by Congress and JD(S) to block governor Vajubhai Vala’s invitation to Yeddyurappa to take first shot at government formation. The hastily cobbled post-poll alliance contended that it should have got the call since it had 115 members against BJP’s 104 in the House with an effective strength of 221(H D Kumaraswamy won from two seats and can exercise only one vote in a trial of strength).
The SC’s willingness to begin hearing arguments well past midnight earned it praise from the Congress for a change. However, the bench ultimately decided not to stay the oath-taking ceremony, though it said it would hear the Congress-JD(S) legal challenge to Vala’s decision on Friday morning. The bench also clearly said the legality of the swearing-in would be subject to its order on Friday.
Crucially, the judges will focus on the two letters Yeddyurappa wrote to the governor on Tuesday and Wednesday to insist that he be invited first to form the government despite Congress-JD(S) claiming the support of 11MLAs more than BJP. New Delhi: Behind the postmidnight drama in the Supreme Court on Thursday lies the story of Congress’s determination to form the government in Karnataka and its legal team’s readiness to tweak and recast its plea thrice over, in sync with the rapidly evolving political scenario, before finally challenging the governor’s decision to invite B S Yeddyurappa to form the government.
Before the election results were even declared, a tentative draft petition had been prepared on the basis of Congress’s hunch that it would emerge as the single largest party and could face a situation akin to Goa, where BJP had quickly outsmarted Congress, the single-largest party, to cobble a post-poll coalition and steal a march to form the government. Wiser from that experience, Congress’s legal team led by Abhishek Manu Singhvi had almost finalised a petition to be filed in the apex court seeking a direction to the governor to invite the single-largest party to form the government.
Though the results announced on Tuesday surprised the party, the Singhvi-led legal team, comprising young guns Devadatt Kamat, Rajesh Inamdar, Javed Rehman, Aditya Bhat and Gautam Talukdar, quickly redrafted and tweaked the petition to seek a direction from the court to the governor to invite the post-poll CongressJD(S) alliance.
Congress’s think tank anticipated that the governor would delay inviting the combine, which has 116 MLAs, to help the B S Yeddyurappa-led BJP to win over MLAs from rival parties with allurement.