BENGALURU: For most part of Thursday, BS Yediyurappa and the state BJP nervously waited to hear from the Delhi leadership amid speculation about how the plot would play out. A phone call from Delhi around 11.45pm changed the political scenario – BJP national president Amit Shah told Yediyurappa he could go ahead with government formation, but not make a hurried announcement.
“Shah said the high command had almost decided in favour of forming the government. He asked Yediyurappa to wait till Friday morning before making any announcement,” said a source close to Yediyurappa who was also told he’d be forming the government “at his own risk”.
At 8.30am Friday, BJP working president JP Nadda called Yediyurappa to know how confident he was about a hassle-free government formation, given that the resignation drama involving rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs hasn’t ended yet.
“Yediyurappa assured Nadda he’d take full responsibility,” the BJP source said, adding, “After this, Shah called and gave the final nod and asked him to complete the formalities quickly.” Shah’s approval, according to another party insider, reportedly came after a brief discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The swearing-in ceremony, scheduled to take place between 12.30pm and 1pm, was moved to 6pm and it was decided he’d take the oath alone. The cabinet expansion will be carried out after Yediyurappa wins the trust vote and the finance bill is approved, most likely on July 29.
“The high command wanted to ensure there were no problems or legal hurdles. It favoured a new government under Yediyurappa’s leadership,” former chief minister Jagadish Shettar told TOI. “The leadership wanted to do take the matter to its parliamentary board, but decided not to delay things further after considering certain factors,” said senior BJP leader JC Madhuswamy.
Signals from Raj Bhavan prompted the BJP to go slow on the issue. Governor Vajubhai Vala is said to have asked a BJP camp which approached him: “Where are the numbers?” A party source said: “Yediyurappa was given an opportunity to prove majority last year and he failed; he had 104 legislators against the required 113. Since then, the BJP’s number has increased by only one (105) ,which is still not enough. Vala shared his view with the party leadership.”
An initially reluctant Shah changed his stance after a delegation assured him that rebel MLAs would not backtrack, provided things moved fast. “They (rebels) will get fidgety if we prolong the crisis, as they have been sequestered in a resort for nearly 20 days,” a senior leader told Shah, when the latter suggested that the House could be kept in suspended animation.
The team also told Shah that if 17 rebel MLAs skipped the trust vote, like they did when HD Kumaraswamy took the floor test, BJP could prove its majority and it would have six months to ensure stability.
On Friday, Shah discussed the issue with Karnataka leaders, Nadda and BJP general secretary Murlidhar Rao for over two hours.
Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s decision to disqualify three rebel MLAs and bar them from contesting any election till 2023 when the present assembly’s tenure ends, also got the BJP cracking. “It looked as if the Congress-JD(S) camp took advantage of the speaker’s decision to threaten rebel MLAs. We didn’t want to take a chance,” Shettar said.
Shah reportedly discussed the matter with legal experts till 11.30pm Thursday. Reports said Congress leaders came close to speaking to some rebel MLAs holed up in Mumbai, through Ramalinga Reddy.
In Video:BS Yediyurappa takes oath as 25th chief minister of Karnataka
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