Bengaluru: Senior BJP MLA K G Bopaiah, who as the speaker of the Karnataka Assembly had disqualified 16 MLAs and bailed out the B S Yeddyurappa government ahead of a no-confidence vote in 2010, was today appointed the pro-tem speaker to conduct the crucial floor test tomorrow.
The appointment riled the Congress, which is likely to move the Supreme Court against it.
The Yeddyurappa government is set to face the floor test at 4 pm as directed by the Supreme Court today.
A four-time MLA, Bopaiah was the Karnataka Assembly speaker from 2009 to 2013.
Hitting out at Governor Vajubhai Vala for the decision, the Congress called him an "agent" of the BJP, and noted that R V Deshpande of the Congress, the senior-most member of the House, should have been appointed in Bopaiah's place.
The governor appointed Bopaiah "as the person before whom a member of the legislative assembly shall, before taking his seat, make and subscribe an oath or affirmation."
Shortly after issuing the notification for the appointment, the governor administered the oath to Bopaiah.
The Supreme Court had in 2011 quashed Bopaiah's decision to disqualify 16 MLAs ahead of the no-confidence motion which had ensured the survival of the Yeddyurappa government.
The apex court had then said that basic constitutional values and principles of natural justice were not observed by Bopaiah in disqualifying the 11 rebel BJP and five independent legislators.
"Shocking decision by the Hon'ble GovernorConstitutional Convention says the senior most, in this case RV Deshpande should've been named," Karnataka Congress working president Dinesh Gundu Rao said in a tweet.
He said, "Also Supreme Court had passed structures (sic) against the conduct of KG Bopiah as Speaker. Sad to see Vajubhai Valaji behaving like an agent of BJP."
Congress sources said in the national capital the party is likely to challenge the appointment of Bopaiah.
Its chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, He is the same Bopaiah who had disqualified those BJP MLAs who had exposed corruption of Yeddyurappa... The Supreme Court bench had said he did not believe in the Constitution, democracy. The SC had dismissed his orders (as speaker) with stinging strictures."
Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker had administered the oath to newly elected members of the Assembly in 2008, when the BJP came to power in Karnataka for the first time under Yeddyurappa.
He was subsequently elected the deputy speaker when Jagadish Shettar, a former chief minister, was the speaker.
In 2009, he was elected the speaker following the resignation of Shettar, who was made a minister.
The governor has, meanwhile, convened a special session of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly tommorrow at 11 am. The pro-tem speaker will administer the oath to the MLAs before Yeddyurappa moves the motion seeking vote of confidence of the House at 4 pm.
The Supreme Court earlier today ordered a floor test at 4 PM tomorrow, drastically slashing the 15-day window given by the governor to Yeddyurappa to prove majority.