BENGALURU — Karnataka BJP stalwart BS Yediyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister of the state for a fourth time on Friday in a sudden twist to the protracted high voltage political drama in the state with a big challenge to manage numbers staring him in the face.
Shortly after taking the oath, Yediyurappa said he would move a motion of confidence in the assembly on 29 July to prove his majority, apparently confident of winning it with the expectation that 16 rebel Congress and JDS MLAs may abstain as they did on Tuesday last, giving him the edge.
Of the 20 rebels MLAs, three were disqualified by the Assembly Speaker Thursday while the lone BSP MLA’s stand is not clear.
The disqualification makes the current strength of the 225-member assembly 221, excluding the Speaker, and the half-way mark is thus 111.
BJP along with one independent’s support has 106 members, Congress has 76 (including MLAs decision on whose resignations and disqualification plea is pending), JD(S) has 37 (including resigned and pending disqualification). Apart from this there is one BSP MLA, a nominated member, and the Speaker, who has a casting vote in case of a tie.
A few JD(S) legislators have impressed upon former CM HD Kumaraswamy to extend external support to the BJP government in Karnataka, party MLA and former minister GT Devegowda said on Friday.
Barely four days after losing power, the JD(S) legislators are divided on their next course of action.
The difference of opinion among the legislators surfaced in a meeting convened by Kumaraswamy on Friday night to decide the party’s future course of action in the wake of upheavals in Karnataka politics.
After the meeting of party legislators here, Devegowda said, “We (MLAs) discussed the future course of action. Some have suggested that we should sit in opposition, while some legislators are of the opinion that we should support the BJP from outside.”
“We have authorised Kumaraswamy to take the final decision,” he said.
The JD(S) and its ally in the previous government ― the Congress ― had alleged that the BJP was the root cause behind unseating them from power by luring and threatening their MLAs.
JD(S) patriarch and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, in a tweet, congratulated Yediyurappa on his swearing-in.
Amid speculations about BJP and JD(S) joining hands, Yediyurappa had recently ruled out any possibility of an alliance with the regional party, having had bitter experience in the past.
The BJP and JD(S) had formed a coalition government in 2006 with Kumaraswamy as chief minister and Yediyurappa as his deputy, under a power sharing formula of 20 months each.
That government had collapsed as the JD(S) did not transfer power to BJP, paving the way for the saffron party to win elections in 2008.
(With PTI inputs)