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Supreme Court’s directive to conduct a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly under scrutiny; Mudda speakers largely praise it while holding that inviting BJP to form government was governor’s prerogative

Friday’s edition of APN’s popular debate show Mudda discussed the Supreme Court’s directive to conduct a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly on Saturday

The show was anchored by Anant Tyagi. The panellists were Congress spokesperson Ajay Arora, BJP spokesperson Tuhin Sinha, RJD spokesperson Manoj Kumar, senior journalist Haseeb Sidiqui, political analyst Shahzad Poonawalla, Supreme Court senior advocate SK Singh and APN Consulting Editor Govind Pant Raju.

The Supreme Court ordered the floor test—for which the BJP government led by BS Yeddyurappa had got a time period of 15 days—be conducted on Saturday at 4pm. The order was passed by a bench of Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan while hearing a petition filed by the Congress-JD (S) opposing Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s invitation to BJP to form the government despite the post-poll alliance having the required numbers. The court has directed the appointment of a pro tem speaker. The apex court also directed that the Yeddyurappa government shall take no policy decision nor shall it appoint any member form the Anglo-Indian community till the floor test is concluded.

Ever since the BJP formed government in Karnataka even after falling short of majority, the Congress in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya and the RJD in Bihar are protesting because they, too, had emerged as the single-largest party in the respective elections but were not allowed to form government in these states.

When asked if the Congress is hyper-reacting to the turn of events, such as moving the Supreme Court at midnight, Siddiqui replied that it is only now that the Congress has started responding to the situation the way it should have earlier. “It is after a long time that the Congress has taken things proactively. There could be nothing better than today’s Supreme Court decision. It is not for the first time that any party has reached the apex court at midnight for a hearing. The BJP had gone to court at two in the morning when Jagdambika Pal had served as Uttar Pradesh chief minister for a day in 1997,” said Siddiqui.

Ajay Arora said that, going by the current precedent, his party, i.e. the RJD, should be allowed to form government in Bihar. “The governor definitely has the discretion in taking such decisions but they should not be different under different circumstances,” Arora said.

Singh said that according to constitutional morality, no governor can be stopped from going ahead with the appointments because it is his power, however, judicial review of the results can always be done.

As per tradition, the oldest member of the parliament, irrespective of the party he belongs to, is appointed as the pro tem speaker. However, Governor Vajubhai Vala has appointed BJP legislator KG Bopaiah as the pro tem speaker. Govind Pant Raju said that the appointment of pro tem speaker is of no specific relevance as he enjoys no special rights.

—Compiled by Lilly Paul

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