Confirming the BJP's worst fears, Karnataka governor HR Bhardwaj on Sunday night recommended imposition of President’s Rule in the state, and asked for the assembly to be kept in suspended animation for six months.
An assembly in suspended animation can be revived if a fresh bid to form a government is accepted by the governor, unlike the dissolution of the House requiring fresh elections to be held to bring it alive again.Citing Friday’s judgment of the Supreme Court, which had set aside the decision of the state assembly speaker to disqualify 16 rebel MLAs (11 from the BJP and 5 Independents), the governor told the Centre that the BS Yeddyurappa government cannot continue since the chaotic trust vote won by it on October 11 last year was "illegal".
There was no word till late Sunday night from the Centre about the options it was considering. Bhardwaj’s recommendation would require Parliament’s ratification and the UPA government would have to depend on other parties to get it ratified in the Rajya Sabha.
Besides, the 11 BJP MLAs who were reinstated as members of the state assembly by the Supreme Court, wrote to the governor on Sunday, pledging support to the Yeddyurappa government, placing it in a majority in the House.
In the special report sent to the Centre through an emissary, the governor is understood to have mentioned that the state government lacked the constitutional validity to remain in office as the Supreme Court has ruled that the speaker’s action to disqualify the 16 MLAs was “against principles of natural justice and constitutional provisions”.
The governor has also mentioned the SC observations against the state on the issue of illegal mining and corruption. “The state government is in a state of coma,” the governor wrote, quoting the SC’s recent remarks in another case.
The BJP wasted no time in launching a counter-attack. “SC judgments have gone against the Centre, including the PM and the home minister in the CVC case. To say that an anti-speaker judgment should lead to action against the state government is anti-constitutional,” said party leader Arun Jaitley.
Yeddyurappa shot off letters to the President and the PM, in which he claimed the support of 127 MLAs in the 225-member House. “I have absolute majority,” he wrote.
This is the second time in seven months that Bhardwaj has recommended President’s Rule. Earlier, he asked the Centre to sack Yeddyurappa government, barely hours after the assembly Speaker declared it victorious in a controversial trust vote on October 11 last year. The Centre had then declined to accept Bhardwaj’s recommendation and had advised him to ask the state to seek a second trust vote, after which political temperatures cooled down.
(With inputs from Aurangzeb Naqshbandi)