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Is Congress using nudge-out ploy on BJP in Karnataka?

May 16, 2011 22:36 IST

The United Progressive Alliance government seems to have adopted a go-slow approach on whether it would move to dismiss the Yeddyurappa government in Karnataka and is likely to let the Bharatiya Janata Party sweat it out and keep the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.

Highly placed sources in the government said that Karnataka Governor Hansraj Bhardwaj has sent a report to the Government where he has said that in the wake of the Supreme Court judgement the continuation of the Yeddyurappa Government is "constitutionally untenable".

Nowhere is the Governor questioning the numbers which may be with the chief minister and whether he has a majority or not. The Governor is simply going by the judgement of the apex court and leaves it to the Centre to take a final call after he gives his advice, said sources in the government.

Communist party of India-Marxist leader Prakash Karat virtually backed Bhardwaj's reading, saying that while his party is not a supporter of Article 356, in this case the continuance of the Karnataka government has become a big question mark.

The government is hoping to create an atmosphere by which more and more regional parties would come out against the BJP government, based on the strong judgement delivered by the Supreme Court, said a source.

A senior leader said that one of the biggest obstacles is that the dismissal of the government would have to be ratified in Parliament, where the situation is tricky for the ruling UPA. A number of regional parties are dead set against Article 356, which gives draconian powers to the Centre against states.

The BJP which has mobilised its complete propaganda machinery to launch an attack on the Centre and demand the dismissal of the Karnataka Governor, met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh under the leadership of L K Advani.

The prime minister assured the BJP delegation that nothing unconstitutional would be done, which is significant, since the BJP Government is now skating on very thin ice bordering on being illegal and unconstitutional.

Congress spokesman Manish Tewari, who launched a strong attack against the chief minister and speaker of Karnataka assembly by calling their continuance as illegitimate and asking for their resignation, said, "Is a floor test correct when we are dealing with an illegitimate government?" The judgement makes some very strong remarks against both the speaker and the chief minister.

At one point it says, "We are constrained to hold that the proceedings conducted by the speaker on the disqualification application filed by B S Yedurappa do not meet the twin tests of natural justice and fair play."

It goes on to add, "Unless it was to ensure that the trust vote did not go against the chief minister, there was no conceivable reason for the speaker to have taken up the disqualification application in such a hurry."

The Congress says this has raised some very basic questions of whether the chief minister and the speaker have the moral right to continue even for a single moment after the observations of the Supreme Court on their conduct.

Tewari said that since October 11, 2010, the BJP has been running an illegal government based upon a manufactured majority, which was obtained by the abuse of constitutional office.

The abuse and counter abuse between the Congress and the BJP would go on for some time as the BJP has brought its MLAs to Delhi and will be prading them before the President on Tuesday, even as it is creating a huge noise asking for the dismissal of the Karnataka Governor.

But the Congress counters that no one is questioning the numbers in favour of the government. The Home Ministry says it is looking into the judgement and in the meantime, it is happy that the Congress has put the Karnataka CM and speaker on the mat and asked for their resignations.

Renu Mittal in New Delhi