Amid protests, Yeddyurappa takes oath as CM

Updated - May 17, 2018 11:13 pm IST

Published - May 17, 2018 09:41 am IST - BENGALURU

 B. S. Yeddyurappa was administered the oath by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala

B. S. Yeddyurappa was administered the oath by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala

Bharatiya Janata Party State President B.S. Yeddyurappa took the oath as the 29th Chief Minister of Karnataka on Thursday, while the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) continued their protest against the Governor’s decision to invite the BJP to form the government despite the strength of their alliance being bigger.

As the 75-year-old leader took the oath at Raj Bhavan, amid a legal challenge by the Congress and the JD(S) against his appointment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah stayed away from the ceremony.

Though the Supreme Court — in a pre-dawn hearing — refused to stay the swearing-in, it is still hearing the Congress’s legal challenge, and that cast a shadow as just a few Union Ministers, including Prakash Javadekar, were present and prominent central leaders gave it a miss.

The rest of the Cabinet members would be sworn in after the floor test, for which the Governor has given 15 days.

The oath-taking also triggered a Twitter war between Mr. Shah and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who called it a “mockery of the Constitution and defeat of democracy.” The BJP chief hit back, arguing that the Congress that had imposed Emergency should not talk about subverting the Constitution.

No fanfare

Draped in a green shawl, Mr. Yeddyurappa took the oath, shorn of any fanfare, in the name of God and farmers. This is the third time he was sworn in as Chief Minister.

At a press conference held soon after, he promised to waive farm loans and weavers’ loans from co-operative and nationalised banks up to ₹1 lakh in the next 48 hours, after consulting officials.

Leaders of the Congress and the JD(S) held protests in front of the Gandhi statue at Vidhana Soudha, calling the Governor’s decision to swear in Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is short of a majority, “unconstitutional and unprecedented.”

By late evening, there were reports that the Congress and JD(S) MLAs, who were locked in resorts on the outskirts of Bengaluru, were being moved out of the State, fearing poaching by the BJP to shore up its number (from the present 104).

While the JD(S) MLAs are reportedly being flown to a resort in Kochi, there was no clarity on where the Congress MLAs were headed. There is also speculation that two of the Congress’s newly elected MLAs — Anand Singh from Vijayanagara and Pratap Gouda Patil from Maski — are no longer in the Congress camp amid reports that they had been contacted by the BJP camp.

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