Bengaluru: In yet another test for the ruling BJP in Karnataka, a floor test will be conducted in the State Legislative Assembly on Saturday to ascertain whether the newly-inducted Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa has the required number to sustain his government.
As directed by the three-member bench of the Supreme Court, the floor test will be held at 4 pm under the supervision of a Protem Speaker in the evening. Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala had on Friday appointed KG Bopaiah as the Protem Speaker. However, this has not gone down well with the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular, which later challenged Bopaiah's appointment in the top court.
The Supreme Court will on Saturday hear an application by the Congress and the JDS challenging the appointment of KG Bopaiah, a relatively junior MLA, as the Protem Speaker.
Advocate Dev Dutt Kamat, who filed the application in the Supreme Court at 7.45 pm on Friday, said that the matter will come up for hearing before a bench of Justice AK Sikri, Justice SA Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan at 10.30 am on Saturday.
Bopaiah is to preside over the floor test on Saturday to ascertain whether newly-appointed Chief Minister Yeddyurappa enjoys a majority support in the assembly.
Seeking the setting aside of the appointment of Bopaiah as Protem Speaker and appointment of the senior most member in his place, the application has sought the videography of the floor test proceedings.
The plea by both Congress and JD(S) has said that except for administering the oath and conducting floor test, the Protem Speaker should be restrained from exercising any other power.
The Congress has contended that Bopaiah is not the senior-most member in the newly-elected House and as per the parliamentary convention, it is only the senior-most member in terms of the number of times he has been elected to the Assembly who can be a Protem Speaker.
Earlier in the day, the party alleged Bopaiah`s appointment was made "with the sole intent of manufacturing a majority out of minority for Yeddyurappa".
Pointing to the "brazen unconstitutional action" in appointing Bopaiah after the passing of the order earlier on Friday morning, the application by both the Congress and JD(S), said that despite the settled parliamentary convention and practice that the senior most member of the assembly in term of number of times he has been elected to the assembly, a junior MLA KG Bopaiah (BJP) has been appointed as Protem Speaker.
The application said that Bopaiah has a "dubious and controversial record of passing biased disqualification orders'' – a charge rejected by the BJP.
Amid dramatic developments, BS Yeddyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister on Thursday at a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhavan.
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala had earlier given Yeddyurappa 15 days for a test of strength. However, this time was slashed by the top court which, on Friday, asked him to take a floor test at 4 pm on Saturday.
The BJP is eight members short of the 112-majority mark in Karnataka. It has 104 MLAs but one of its lawmakers has been picked as a Protem Speaker.
The Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) combine has 115 lawmakers and the two sides have taken extraordinary steps to prevent defections.
The Congress and JDS allege that the lawmakers were threatened and also offered Rs 100 crore bribes and ministries. One of the lawmakers, Anand Singh, was "kidnapped", the Congress claimed. Another Congress legislator also went MIA after putting down his signature on a list of party legislators.
Despite all permutations and combinations, Chief Minister Yeddyurappa has expressed full confidence that he will survive the floor test.
"We will get a good majority. We will prove the majority," he said on Friday.