Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala on Friday appointed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA K.G. Bopaiah as pro-tem speaker ahead of floor test tomorrow in the state assembly, breaking the convention of appointing the senior-most legislator.Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court ruled that a floor test be conducted on Saturday at 4 pm for BJP to prove his majority in the state assembly.The decision was taken after the top court heard the arguments for and against the petition filed by the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) following Governor Vala’s invitation to the BJP to form the government in the state.Reacting to the decision, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Karnataka Congress Work President called the decision ‘shocking’.He wrote on Twitter: “Shocking decision by the Hon’ble Governor..Constitutional Convention says the seniormost,in this case RV Deshpande should’ve been named. Also Supreme Court had passed structures against the conduct of KG Bopiah as Speaker. Sad to see Vajubhai Valaji behaving like an agent of BJP.”Congress leader and advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: “By convention, the senior most speaker of the house is elected as protem speaker. In this case, it is RV Deshpande, but the BJP has sadly asked for a man who’s not senior most.”Congress National spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also experessed shock at the decision, saying that the SC had cast aspersions on Bopaiah and called him ‘tainted’. The Congress is considering moving SC against the decision. The BJP has 104 MLAs, but they are still short of the halfway mark of 111 by seven MLAs and have been given 24 hours to prove their majority in the Karnataka assembly by the apex court.Randeep Surjewala said: “The Governor Vajubhai Vala has once again launched an encounter on the Constitution by appointing KG Bopaiah as pro tem Speaker instead of the senior most MLA.”The Congress is likely to challenge in court the appointment of BJP MLA K G Bopaiah as the pro tem speaker of the Karnataka assembly ahead of tomorrow’s vote of confidence, according to party sources.Top Congress leaders met here today soon after Governor Vajubhai Vala appointed the BJP MLA as the pro tem speaker, and decided that the matter should be challenged in court, the sources said.According to the Congress, the senior most legislator from any party should be appointed as the pro-tem speaker as per convention . The party said its eight-time MLA R V Deshpande is the senior most lawmaker in the assembly.The Supreme Court today ordered a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 PM tomorrow, drastically slashing the 15-day window given by the Governor to BJP Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to prove majority.The Supreme Court today gave clear-cut four-step instructions for holding the floor test in the Karnataka assembly tomorrow for ascertaining the majority or otherwise of the B S Yedyurappa’s government in the state.In its order, the apex court enumerated the four steps that have to be followed for holding the floor test, directing the immediate appointment of the Pro-tem Speaker, holding the oath ceremony for all elected members tomorrow. This exercise has to be completed before 4 PM when the floor test will be held to ascertain the majority.A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan ordered that adequate and sufficient security arrangements shall be made and Director General of Police, Karnataka, will himself supervise all arrangements so that there is no lapse on this count whatsoever.The bench also noted the statement by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the chief minister, that since the floor test would be held tomorrow at 4 PM, Yeddyurappa shall not take any policy decision till it is concluded.It recorded that in compliance with the May 17 order, Rohatgi has produced the copies of May 15 and 16 letters which were addressed by Yeddyurappa to the Governor of Karnataka.The bench noted that in the May 16 letter, it is claimed that Yeddyurappa’s party was the single largest party which also had the support of others and the requisite majority.On that basis, the request was made to the Governor to invite him to form the Government, it noted.The court also took on record the submissions of senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal, appearing for Congress-JD(S) combine, that the Governor could not have invited Yeddyurappa to form government on the basis of such letters.Their contentions were refuted by Rohatgi, the order noted, adding that “In a matter like this, detailed hearing is required in order to decide as to whether action of the Governor in inviting Yeddyurappa to form the Government was valid in law or not.” “Since it may consume substantial time and the final decision cannot be given immediately, we deem it proper that floor test to ascertain the majority of one or the other group is conducted immediately and without any delay,” the order said.The order also took on record the May 16 letter of the Governor inviting Yeddyurappa to form government by giving him 15 days to prove majority on the floor of the House.However, the bench said “having regard to all the circumstances of this case, we are of the view that such a floor test be conducted tomorrow itself, that is on May 19, 2018.” Before concluding, the bench granted six weeks’ time to the BJP and its leaders to file counter affidavit and, thereafter, the petitioners on behalf of Congress-JD(S) combine will file rejoinder affidavit in four weeks.With inputs from PTI
Kapil Sibal

Janata Dal

bharatiya janata party

Randeep Surjewala

Dinesh Gundu Rao

Director General

Ashok Bhushan

Karnataka Assembly Election 2018

Karnataka Election 2018

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Appointment of Bopaiah as Karnataka pro-tem speaker ‘encounter of the Constitution’: Congress