The Governor’s “charity” offer to the chief minister, within 24 hours of his Monday’s recommendation to President Pratibha Patil to impose Central rule on the State, is understood to have been prompted by the “unhappiness” of the Manmohan Singh government over some of his actions in the last few days.
The Union Cabinet, which was expected to take up the Governor’s recommendation for invoking Article 356 in the State, did not do so at its meeting in the evening. Apparently, a decision in this regard was taken last night itself when top Congress leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, met for the party’s core committee. The party leadership was particularly unhappy with the Governor’s instruction to the Speaker ahead of Monday’s trust vote.
Yeddyurappa, who initially appeared not inclined to go to the Assembly for a second time, later agreed to face the trust vote on Thursday.
What clinched the chief minister and the BJP central leadership to accept the Governor’s suggestion for the second trust vote was the Karnataka High Court’s refusal to grant interim stay on Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah’s order disqualifying 11 BJP and five Independent MLAs.
With Bhardwaj asking Yeddyurappa to prove his majority in the Assembly on Thursday, the chief minister and 104 other BJP MLAs, who rushed to Delhi in the morning to parade 105 legislators before the President, returned to Bangalore in the night without meeting her.
The decision to accept Bhardwaj’s suggestion was also prompted by indications from the Centre that it could accept the Governor’s recommendation in the absence of a proper trial of strength in the Assembly.
The Governor’s “charity” to the chief minister did not go down well with the JD(S) and local Congress leaders. JD (S) leader H D Kumaraswamy and Congress leaders Siddaramaiah and R V Deshpande rushed to Raj Bhavan to meet Bhardwaj. More over, with the court not giving interim relief to the disqualified legislators, the JD(S) leader insisted that Yeddyurappa should move a second confidence motion only after the completion of the court hearing.
With the numbers in the Assembly tilted against the Opposition in view of the disqualifications, Kumaraswamy indicated that his party could even consider staying away from Thursday’s Assembly proceedings. The party would take a decision on its October 14 participation in the House on Wednesday evening, he said.
While he formally sent a letter to the chief minister asking him to take the second trust vote, the Governor took the unusual step of explaining his move by addressing the media.
At a hurriedly convened press conference in Raj Bhavan, Bhardwaj asserted that that he was giving one more chance to the chief minister to prove his majority as a matter of “charity”. He said he was asking the chief minister in writing that it was incumbent upon him to demonstrate clearly and objectively that he enjoyed majority support in the Assembly.
Yet, he insisted that he stood by his report to the President. “I have already sent my report to the President of India. My stand is clear…I am fed up with this corruption. Since I came here, I am seeing dissident activities. I am giving this offer to the chief minister to convince the people of the State that there was no politics on my part”, he said.
He explained that his recommendation for imposition of President’s rule was based on the report sent by the Assembly Speaker on Monday’s House proceedings. The chief minister had failed to prove his majority support as the Speaker’s report to him did not contain the “number of members present and voting, and figures relating to ‘Ayes’ and ‘Nos’ on the motion of confidence moved by the chief minister, the Governor asserted.
The proceedings were reduced to a “farce” as there were reports of the presence of uniformed police and ruckus in the House. There were also complaints that non-members were present, he said.
Bhardwaj also complained that Yeddyurappa had not bothered to meet him on Monday to apprise him of the situation. On the contrary, he said, Opposition leaders had come to him soon after the session claiming the support of 120 members.