Minutes after BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa took oath as the Karnataka Chief Minister, Congress leaders, including former Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and former CM Siddaramaiah sat in protest outside the Vidhana Soudha on Thursday.
With Governor Vajubhai Vala giving Yeddyurappa 15 days to prove majority on the floor of the House, Congress and JD(S) allege that the time given will allow the BJP to indulge in horse-trading. JD(S) Legislative Party leader and CM hopeful HD Kumaraswamy levelled more allegations against the BJP, claiming that the party was using central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, the CBI and Income Tax Department to intimidate and poach MLAs from the Congress and the JD(S). His latest comes allegations come a day after he accused the BJP of offering his party MLAs Rs 100 crore and ministerial berths on Wednesday.
Speaking about Anand Singh, the Congress MLA-elect from Vijayanagara, who had jumped ship from the BJP to Congress in January 2018 and has gone 'missing', Kumaraswamy told media persons, “Early morning I have got information about Anand Singh. They (BJP) are using Centre and ED (Enforcement Directorate) to take his support.”
He also went on to allege, “Anand Singh told 'they are using ED, I had a case in ED and they are going to screw me. I'm sorry I have to protect my interest,' another Cong MLA who spoke to Singh told me.”
He further alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government was “misusing constitutional institutions by using their power in Delhi” to target both Congress and JD(S) MLAs.
He then confirmed that he and other JD(S) members were going to Vidhana Soudha to join the protest with Congress. “We are seeing how Narendra Modi’s government is behaving. They want to demolish democracy in this country,” Kumaraswamy said.
When asked about whether he would be next Karnataka chief minister, Kumaraswamy said, “Who knows? We have to fight it out.”
He also told TNM that the Congress MLAs who had defected will come back. “We don’t know if we will form the government. We have to fight it out now,” he said before getting on to a bus to take him to Vidhana Soudha.
Kumaraswamy’s reaction and accusations at the BJP and Centre come as there are reports of several Congress MLAs going ‘missing’. After the Karnataka Assembly elections threw up a split verdict, the Congress and JD(S) had allied together and quoted the SR Bommai judgment to Governor Vajubhai Vala in hopes their post-poll alliance would be invited to form the government over BJP.
However, by Wednesday night, it became clear that the Governor had invited BS Yeddyurappa to take oath as Karnataka’s Chief Minister and prove majority in 15 days – a decision which has left the JD(S) and Congress fuming.