The Congress on Thursday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah to prove the party's majority in the Karnataka assembly if they were so confident of their numbers.
The Congress said it will observe 'Save Democracy Day' on Friday with party workers and leaders holding protest marches at all district and state headquarters to protest the decision of Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala inviting B S Yeddyurappa to take oath as chief minister.
Stepping up the attack on the BJP, Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala dubbed Yeddyurappa as a 'one-day chief minister' saying he lacked majority.
He said Friday's protest is to express anger over the manner in which 'democracy was subverted' and the 'Constitution was trampled' by the Karnataka governor.
Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot said the anti-defection law is applicable in the country and in no way the BJP can prove that they have the majority.
He said the sanctity of the Raj Bhawan has been 'lowered' at the behest of the BJP and expressed confidence that they will win in the Supreme Court as truth will finally prevail.
"This taking over of Yeddyurappa is a backdoor entry, as neither the prime minister nor Amit Shah have attended his swearing-in today (Thursday)," Gehlot told PTI, alleging that Yeddyurappa has been sworn in till Friday when the Supreme Court hears them out.
The Congress and Janata Dal-Secular on Wednesday night challenged the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as Karnataka chief minister in the Supreme Court which gave a midnight hearing to their petition but did not give any relief.
The hearing will continue on Friday and the Congress has expressed hope that they will get justice.
"Amit Shah dares to give us sermons on democracy. We challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah that if you have the courage of conviction, we dare you to prove your majority on the floor of the House tomorrow itself and the truth will come and democracy will win as you will be decisively decimated and defeated," Surjewala told reporters.
He said in view of the Governor's 'illegal' decision, the Congress president has decided that all party workers will observe May 18 as 'Save Democracy Day', by holding dharnas and protests in every nook and corner of the country and expose 'misdeeds' of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.
Surjewala said that if allowing the single largest party was the law, then the BJP governments in Goa, Manipur and Bihar should resign and Congress should be allowed to form their governments.
"Yeddyurappa will turn out one-day chief minister… His fate as CM is dependent on the court hearing," he said.
"How come the Governor invite them to form government when the BJP does not have numbers to do so… the Governor has encountered the Constitution twice… he has murdered democracy,” Surjewala said, alleging that the governor was working at the behest of the BJP's central leadership.
The Congress leader attacked Vala, accusing him of 'encountering' the Constitution twice, first by inviting the BJP to form government and then by allowing Yeddyurappa to take oath on Thursday, while the matter is being heard by the Supreme Court.
Attacking the Congress earlier in the day, Shah said that democracy was murdered the moment a 'desperate' Congress made an 'opportunist' offer to the Janata Dal-Secular to form the government in Karnataka for 'petty political gains'.
'The 'Murder of Democracy' happens the minute a desperate Congress made an 'opportunist' offer to the JD-S, not for Karnataka's welfare but for their petty political gains. Shameful!' he said in a tweet.
The BJP has emerged as the single largest party in the southern state winning 104 seats, but is short of a simple majority.
On the other hand, the Congress and JD-S, which have already announced post-poll tie-up, have won 78 and 37 seats respectively and claimed before Vala to have numbers to form government in the state.
The governor has given the BJP 15 days' time to prove its majority.
Other opposition parties also accused the BJP of 'murder of democracy' and 'trampling' the Constitution.
Parties like the Trinamool Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Bahujan Samaj Party, besides the Rashtriya Janata Dal stood in unison to target the BJP and asserted that if the single largest party was to form the government, then BJP governments in states like Bihar, Goa, Manipur and Meghayala should resign.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also targeted the BJP, saying she didn't know why the Karnataka governor had not invited JD-S leader Kumarswamy to form government.
She 'endorsed' the views of BSP supremo Mayawati who termed the entire episode as a conspiracy to destroy the Constitution.
'I endorse the views of Mayawatiji. We must give full respect to the maker of our Constitution, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,' Banerjee said on Twitter.
"It is a conspiracy to destroy the constitution made by Baba Saheb Ambedkar. Since they (BJP) came to power they have been misusing government machinery, thereby attacking democracy," Mayawati earlier said, while referring to Yeddyurappa taking oath as the Karnataka chief minister.
CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the opposition parties are determined to organise a major movement across the country in defence of democracy, if parliamentary democratic norms are not followed in Karnataka,
Cong-JD-S in SC against Guv's move to nominate Anglo-Indian to K'taka Assembly
The Congress-JD-S combine on Thursday moved the Supreme Court against Vala's alleged move to nominate an Anglo-Indian member to the assembly, saying it should not be done till the floor test in the House.
The interim application, filed on Thursday afternoon, is likely to be heard on Friday along with the main petition of the combine.
In a fresh plea, the Congress-JD-S has sought a direction that the nomination of the Anglo-Indian member by the Governor, if done, should be set aside till Yeddyurappa undergoes the floor test in the House to prove majority.
The application would be heard by a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, which in a historic pre-dawn hearing, allowed the scheduled swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as the chief minister.
The plea said All India Anglo-Indian Association, in a letter written to the Governor on May 16 by its president, has said the "constitutional rights of Anglo-Indians may not be exploited for political purposes" and the nomination be made only after the floor test.
"The use of Governor's office for such ill-conceived and unconstitutional political ambitions and desires would amount to a death knell to democracy which is a basic feature of our Constitution," the plea, mentioned by advocate Dev Dutt Kamath, said.
The strength of the Karnataka Assembly is 224, out of which elections were held for 222 seats and the nomination of one Anglo-Indian member would take it to 225.
The plea alleged that the proposed nomination of an Anglo-Indian member to the state assembly would be an 'illegal attempt' to raise the strength of the BJP in the House.
It also said that any such attempt would be "unethical" and a complete mockery of the democratic process.
"The Governor in the light of fast-paced circumstances cannot enter the political thicket by even unilaterally exercising his powers under Article 333 in the face of impending floor test with a pre-determined motive to help the incumbent Chief Minister.
"Any such exercise of power under Article 333 unilaterally by the Governor or on the aid and advice of the Chief minister is ex-facie unconstitutional," it said.