BS Yeddyurappa has taken oath as the 23rd Chief Minister of Karnataka after the Supreme Court said it will not intervene in the decision of the governor to invite the BJP to form a government.
In a midnight meeting on Wednesday night, the apex court decided that Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in ceremony will go ahead as planned, but it will hear the case again on Friday. A bench of Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan also asked that the letter given by Yeddyurappa and senior BJP leaders to the governor, in which it was stated that the party has the requisite number of MLAs to form a government, be produced before the court.
The court also refused to modify Governor Vajubhai Vala’s 15-day window to the BJP to prove its majority. If Yeddyurappa doesn’t manage to retain power beyond the window offered, it could be the second time that the Lingayat strongman is forced to step down after an all-too-brief stint as chief minister. Back in November 2007, Yeddyurappa enjoyed a seven-day tenure as chief minister.
If Yeddyurappa fails to win the trust vote in 15 days’ time and has another short-lived stint as chief minister, it would be his second. Back in November 2007, after seat-sharing talks between alliance partners JD(S) and BJP fell through, and then chief minister HD Kumaraswamy had to step down. The state was under President’s Rule for two days, but ultimately Kumaraswamy agreed to support Yeddyurappa and the latter was sworn in.
As reported by Rediff, however, it was an uncomfortable alliance. The BJP refused to accept JD(S)’ demands to allocate it better portfolios, the JD(S) refused to vote for the BJP. Yeddyurappa announced his decision to quit and handed in his resignation, following which the state went through six months of President’s Rule.
But even that, incidentally, is not the shortest chief ministerial tenure in Independent India. Congress leader Jagdambika Pal’s chief minister tenure lasted less than 24 hours, a record that standstill today, over 20 years later.