Karnataka governor H.R. Bhardwaj and the man he has been trying to dislodge from office, chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, were all smiles when they met face to face on Wednesday, with the governor proclaiming that the CM and he were “friends” and even holding BSY’s hands at one point. But once the cameras were turned off, both men had a go at each other.
The governor insisted that “the CM may have a brute majority. But now that the Supreme Court has quashed the Speaker’s order disqualifying the 16 rebels, it had become a minority government, which is why I sent the report. It’s up to the Union government to decide what it wants to do.”
But in adding that he would not be unduly upset if the Centre rejected his report, in which he recommended President’s Rule in Karnataka, he also revealed how uncertain he is of receiving support from the Union Cabinet, which some sources said might not deliberate on Karnataka at all.
The chief minister refused to back down. He told this newspaper separately: “From the day he has taken over the governor’s office he has been working against me, so there is no change in my party’s demand: the governor must go.”
Clearly, the war’s not over.
Mr Bhardwaj, who told a stunned but cheering audience at the Karnataka Public Service Commiss-ion’s diamond jubilee function here that he was a great admirer of the chief minister who worked a punishing 12-14 hours, said the only person who could ask him to quit was the President.
Later on Wednesday, after failing to get him to agree to holding an Assembly session from May 16, Mr Yeddyurappa once again appealed to the governor to convene the session from June 2.
The CM arrived at Raj Bhavan with four state ministers by his side, and asked the governor to allow a 10-day session of both Houses of the legislature to be convened so that the 2011-12 state budget could be approved. Mr Yeddyurappa told reporters later that the governor had told the delegation his hands were tied, and that he could only take a decision after getting New Delhi’s response to his report. Mr Yeddyurappa said the governor spent most of their 30-minute meeting explaining the rules and the time needed to convene a session.
n Article 355: Reports persisted in political circles here that the Union home ministry was contemplating a face-saver for the governor in the form of Article 355, which would censure the Yeddyurappa government but not dismiss it — strenuously denied by top sources in New Delhi who said the governor’s report was still pending, awaiting a decision at the highest level. Sources close to JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy said they were confident that Article 356 would be imposed. Asian Age