K'taka Guv acted as per Constitution, Cong trying to 'loot' mandate: BJP
New Delhi: The BJP on Thursday said the Karnataka Governor has acted as per Constitution and the Supreme Court's orders by inviting its leader BS Yeddyurappa to form the government in the state and accused the Congress of trying to "loot" the mandate.
Governor Vajubhai Vala, accused by the Congress of acting like a BJP "puppet", got strong support from Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who said Constitution, the Supreme Court's orders, reports on the Centre-state relations as well as a decision by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989 justify the decision to invite the single largest party BJP to form the government in Karnataka.
At a press conference, Prasad accused the Congress of threatening violence in the state if it was not invited by the governor to form government and said it has resorted to "shameful and irresponsible" tactics.
The Congress has extended support to JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy to form the government. The two parties together have 115 MLAs, more than the half-way mark. The BJP has won 104 seats, making it the single largest party.
He also said the opposition party's charge that the BJP was trying to buy out MLAs of other parties should be
rejected with the "contempt it deserves".
Asked about the Congress' claim that the governor should have followed the precedent of Goa and Manipur, where the Congress emerged as the single largest party but the BJP and its post-polls allies were invited to form government, he said the opposition party never staked a claim for forming government in those two states.
Prasad also cited the reports of the Sarkaria and Punchhi commissions, both on the Centre-state relations, and said they had recommended that a governor in the case of hung Assembly verdict should first invite the largest pre-poll alliance followed by the largest single party and then the post-poll alliance in that order of preference.
A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court "endorsed" this as well, he said, suggesting that the Karnataka governor's decision was in line with the two reports.
The apex court has also agreed with the discretionary powers given to the President and the governors by the Constitution, and stated that it should not be arbitrary, Prasad said.
The senior BJP leader cited the then outgoing prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's decision in 1989 to not stake claim to form the government at the Centre despite the Congress emerging as the single largest party saying the mandate was against his party.
"I want to ask Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi when their party is preaching us about the Constitution and democratic norms that if they have forgotten the legacy of their own family," Prasad said.
Asserting that people's verdict in Karnataka was against the incumbent Congress, he said its tally was reduced was to 78 from 122 with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah losing from one constituency and 16 ministers facing defeat as well.
The BJP got 104 seats and fell short of a majority by a few seats but the mandate is clearly in its favour, he said.
The Congress is unable to resist the temptation of grabbing power in the state and is riding "piggyback" on the JD(S), against which it fought the poll bitterly, Prasad said.
"The Congress is trying to loot the mandate," he alleged.
Prasad said the Congress should not "preach" as it has a history of making a mockery of the Constitution.
The Congress imposed the President's rule in states with democratically-elected governments and its prime minister once faced a trial over his attempts to turn his minority government into a majority dispensation, Prasad alleged, apparently referring to P V Narasimha Rao.