BJP’s appointment of pro-tem speaker against rulebook: Congress

New Delhi: The Congress on Friday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of breaking the convention and naming a three-time MLA, K.G. Bopaiah, as the pro-tem speaker ahead of the Saturday’s floor test.

At a media briefing, Congress leader and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “What the BJP has done is against the rulebook. Ideally, the senior most leader is supposed to hold that position. We are only asking for the convention to be followed.”

He added that the Congress was ready for the floor test called by the Supreme Court on Saturday.

Slamming Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for forming the government without a majority, Singhvi asserted, “B.S. Yeddyurappa cannot do magic or alter maths. On what basis did he give a letter without signatures and without a number. B.S. Yeddyurappa should not have claimed majority. They are aware that they cannot turn 104 to majority (112 seats). They cannot muster the required numbers in a day.”

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala on Friday appointed Bopaiah as pro-tem speaker ahead of floor test tomorrow in the state assembly, breaking the convention of appointing the senior-most legislator.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court ruled that a floor test should be conducted on Saturday at 4 pm for the BJP to prove their majority in the Karnataka assembly.

The decision was taken after the top court heard the arguments for and against the petition filed by the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) following Governor Vala’s invitation to the BJP to form the government in the state.

The floor test needs to be conducted under the supervision of the pro-tem speaker. A pro-tem speaker’s role is to administer the oath to the new MLAs and to conduct the election of the full-time speaker in the state assembly.

Bopaiah is a senior BJP leader and had won from the Virajpet seat in Karnataka. He had secured 77,944 votes and defeated Congress candidate Arun Machaiah by 13,353 votes in the recently-concluded assembly election, winning for the fourth time.

Meanwhile, Union Minister and Karnataka BJP in-charge Prakash Javadekar said that the appointment of Bopaiah was as per the rules and regulations and that the Congress was raising a “hoax objection.”

“KG Bopaiah was appointed as Pro Tem speaker even in 2008 by the then Governor. That time Bopaiah was 10 years younger than what he is today. Congress is thus raising hoax objection. The appointment of Bopaiah ji is as per rules and regulations,” Javadekar wrote in a tweet.

The BJP has 104 MLAs but they are still short of the simple majority mark of 113 by nine MLAs and have been given 24 hours to prove the same in the Karnataka assembly by the apex court tomorrow.

However, if two ‘missing’ Congress MLAs do not get to vote tomorrow, the halfway mark will fall to 111.
On the other hand, Congress (78 seats) and JD-S (37 seats), along with two independent candidates have formed a post-poll alliance and are staking a claim to form the government in Karnataka, with a total of 115 MLAs. (ANI)