Governor Vajubhai Vala today invited BJP legislature party leader B.S. Yeddyurappa to form the government in Karnataka, capping a day of intense jockeying for power, and Congress's allegations of bribery and horse-trading by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"I invite you (Yeddyurappa) to form the government and be sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka," a communique from Raj Bhavan said.
Yeddyurappa has been given 15 days to prove majority on the floor of the house.
The oath-taking ceremony will take place at 9am, BJP MLA-elect Murugesh Nirani was quoted as saying, according to media reports.
The governor reportedly took the decision after consulting with former attorney general Mukul Rohtagi. The JD(S) and Congress had met the governor at the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday evening and Vala had assured he will consult legal experts before making a decision.
One of the BJP MLAs had said Yeddyurappa will take oath as chief minister on Thursday, much before it was confirmed officially. "B S Yeddyurappa will take oath as chief minister at 9.30 am at Raj Bhavan tomorrow. Let us all gather on this happy occasion," MLA Suresh Kumar said in a tweet. He, however, deleted the tweet later.
The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party, fell short of majority as the saffron party managed to get only 104 seats in the 224-member house. With 105 MLA-elects, including an Independent, the BJP is seven seats short of majority in the 224-seat assembly. Elections to two seats are yet to be held. The Congress-JD(S) combine has submitted a list of 117 MLA-elects supporting it, to the governor.
Reacting to the development, the Congress claimed that the governor did not follow the rule book while inviting the BJP to form the government. The party said the governor denigrated his office, trampled the Constitution and acted as a BJP puppet.
"Vajubhai Vala denigrated the Governor's office, trampled upon the Constitution, abused the law and acted as a BJP puppet. He chose to serve his masters in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rather then serve the Constitution," tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
Earlier, in a press briefing, Congress leader P. Chidambaram said the numbers of the Congress party and the JD(S) clearly established that the alliance had a majority in the Karnataka legislature.
"The governor, who is an exalted constitutional office, should not walk on a perilous path which is illegal," Chidambaram said.
He also said the governor was bound by the Supreme Court judgment to invite the leader of the alliance (H.D. Kumaraswamy) that has been formed and which commands majority in the legislative assembly.
(With agency inputs)