The political situation in Karnataka took a new twist on Friday with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party staging a demonstration in Bangalore, demanding a session of the legislature and the recall of Governor H.R. Bhardwaj.
Meanwhile, top leaders of the Congress in the State rushed to New Delhi to press the party leadership to implement the recommendation of the Governor for imposition of President's rule in the State.
Interestingly, the Union government, in a late development, decided to put off a decision on the recommendation of the Governor relating to President's rule until Sunday. Thus, the Governor will also have to defer his decision in convening a session of the legislature, as requested by the State Cabinet. The Cabinet initially requested that the session be convened from May 16 and when the Governor refused to act on it, the Cabinet again met and requested that the session be convened from June 2. In a way, the legislature session will enable Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to prove that his government enjoys a majority.
CMs write to Manmohan
Even as the news trickled in that a final decision on the Governor's report was delayed, the Chief Minister of as many as three BJP-ruled States — Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — extended their support to Mr. Yeddyurappa and written a detailed letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh highlighting the need to recall the Governor and also direct him to convene a session of the State Legislature.
Narendra Modi, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh, in almost identical letters addressed to the Prime Minister, said the Governor, being a Constitutional head of the State, was bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers. The Governor of Karnataka, however,has refused to act in accordance with the Council's decision. The Supreme Court has also upheld this position in several cases.
‘Federalism under threat'
With several State governments being ruled by different political parties other than the ruling party at the Centre, they said, the behaviour of the Karnataka Governor put at stake the federal fabric of the country, which was one of the cornerstones of the Constitution laid down by the founding fathers.
With the ruling party here threatening to take to the streets across the State over the next few days, the Centre has convened a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs to take a decision on the Governor's recommendation. The Governor's report was also not on the agenda of a meeting of the Union Cabinet on Friday. A formal communication from the Centre to the Governor is expected to pave the way for convening a session of the Assembly that has been demanded by Mr. Yeddyurappa.
Rush to Delhi
In another development, the top leaders of the State Congress have rushed to New Delhi to press the high command to implement the Governor's recommendation.
While the Congress staged a demonstration demanding the ouster of the government, the BJP held one demanding the recall of the Governor and the convening of the legislature. The Chief Minister who had earlier threatened to lead the demonstration refrained from doing so.