'Hollow victory' vs 'murder of democracy': Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah lock horns over Karnataka outcome
'Hollow victory' vs 'murder of democracy': Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah lock horns over Karnataka outcomeTIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: May 17, 2018, 11:09 ISTNEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi today slammed the BJP's attempts to come to power in Karnataka a "mockery" of the Constitution, to which BJP chief Amit Shah responded by describing the rival party's actions as a "murder of democracy".
In his first public remarks since the post-poll drama began unfolding, Rahul Gandhi offered a few bleak words by way of congratulation to BJP veteran B S Yeddyurappa before he took oath as the next chief minister of Karnataka.
"This morning, while the BJ P celebrates its hollow victory, India will mourn the defeat of democracy," Rahul said in a tweet.
The Gandhi scion's reaction followed the Supreme Court's refusal to set aside Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala's invitation to the BJP to form the government in the state after the May 12 assembly polls threw up a fractured mandate. BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 members, while Congress secured 78, the JD(S) 37 and others three. The saffron party and a post-poll alliance of Congress-JD(S) had staked competing claims for government formation.
"The BJPâs irrational insistence that it will form a government in Karnataka, even though it clearly doesnât have the numbers, is to make a mockery of our Constitution," Rahul said.
In a blistering broadside against Rahul, BJP president Amit Shah said the Congress party's "opportunist offer" of alliance to the JD(S) was a murder of democracy as it was politically mot ivated.
"The âMurder of Democracyâ happens the minute a desperate Congress made an âopportunistâ offer to the JD(S), not for Karnatakaâs welfare but for their petty political gains. Shameful!" fired Shah in a tweet.
He was quick to highlight the Congress party's blemished record when it comes to upholding democracy -- be it the "horrific Emergency, blatant misuse of Article 356" or "subverting the courts, media and civil society".
Intense jockeying for power and allegations of horse-trading culminated at a pre-dawn hearing of a petition filed by the Congress-JD(S) combine, when the apex court gave leave to the saffron party to conduct Yeddyurappa's swearing-in ceremony at 9am today.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Congress-JD(S), argued the coalition has the majority in the house with 117 MLAs while the BJP had only 104 seats which was below the majority mark of 112 at present.
He also questioned the Governor's decision to give 15 days time to Yeddyurppa to prove majority in the house and claimed that this might lead to "horse trading" and "poaching" of MLAs.
Appearing for the BJP was senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi who opposed the arguments to defer or stay the swearing-in ceremony. He said that constitutional obligation of the governor was to invite a party to form a new government and his action could always be judicially reviewed and the court may order for restoration of status-quo ante.
The SC, however, has posted the matter for further hearing on Friday and made it clear that the swearing-in and the government formation in the state would be subject to the final outcome of the case before it.
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