The war between the BJP and Karnataka governor HR Bhardwaj escalated on Tuesday, as chief minister BS Yeddyurappa paraded 114 MLAs before the President - with letters of support from seven others - to prove his majority in the 225-member assembly.
Though there was still no official word from the Centre on the governor's recommendation to sack the BJP government, Bhardwaj defended his action, saying there was a "breakdown of constitutional mechanism in the state."The BJP delegation, accompanied by the party's national leadership, submitted a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil, demanding the recall of the governor.
"The mindset and the conduct of His Excellency is motivated by extraneous and collateral purposes, less as a Constitutional functionary and more as an activist of an Opposition party," the memorandum said.
Bhardwaj, a former law minister, hit back with a statement issued almost at the same time when the BJP delegation was at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
"An impression is being created that despite the government enjoying a majority in the assembly, the governor submitted the report for invoking President's rule on the ground that it had lost the majority. This is completely baseless."
Bhardwaj referred to the turn of events on October 11, when the speaker disqualified 16 rebel MLAs, which was set aside by the Supreme Court last year.
Bhardwaj alleged that the speaker conspired with the chief minister to distort the composition of the assembly "by disqualifying 16 members of the assembly just hours before the crucial floor test scheduled for October 11 2010".
He said the SC judgment on Friday, setting aside the speaker's order, had "noted the distortion of the character of the assembly resorted to by the chief minister and the speaker."
As the BJP and the governor continued to engage in a vitriolic war of words, the Congress continued to question the moral right of the Yeddyurappa government to continue in office.
Though the Karnataka state unit is strongly in favour of the dismissal of the BJP government, the central leadership continued to adopt a wait and watch policy on the issue.