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Posted at: May 17, 2018, 10:17 PM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 10:22 PM (IST)KARNATAKA VERDICT FALLOUT

Congress to observe ‘Save Democracy Day’ on Friday

Congress to observe ‘Save Democracy Day’ on Friday
Lawmakers from Congress and JD (S) protest against BJP leader BS Yeddyurappas swearing-in as Chief Minister of Karnataka, in Bengaluru on May 17, 2018. REUTERS

New Delhi, May 17

The Congress on Thursday said it would observe ‘Save Democracy Day’ across the country on Friday in protest against Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to “illegally” invite BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa to form the government in the state.

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala accused the Karnataka Governor of colluding with the BJP and playing a “partisan” role in government formation in Karnataka after it threw a split verdict.

He also accused Vala of “murdering” democracy and “trampling” of the Constitution by inviting Yeddyurappa.

“The Congress has decided that its workers and leaders will observe a ‘Save Democracy Day’ across the country on May 18 to highlight the Governor’s trampling of the Constitution,” he told reporters.

Surjewala said Congress leaders and workers would hold protests and dharnas at various state and district headquarters across the country.

In a letter to party general secretaries, state unit presidents and chiefs of frontal organisations, AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot asked them to organise protests and dharnas at all state capitals and district headquarters against the ‘partisan’ role of the Governor.

He also asked the party’s state unit presidents and all senior leaders to lead a delegation to the respective governors and submit a memorandum urging the President “to safeguard the democratic principles and the sanctity of the Constitution”.

Questioning the decision of the Governor to invite the BJP to form the government in Karnataka, Surjewala said, “if the law says that the single largest party be invited to form the Government, then the same precedent should have been followed in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya.” “The Governor has not only undermined the dignity of his office, he has also acted in an unconstitutional manner. This dangerous precedent strikes at the very heart of India’s democracy and portends grave consequences for all coming elections,” Gehlot said in his letter.

The state units have been urged to use “evocative slogans and innovative techniques to highlight the travesty” and also seek the support of civil society organisations.

BJP legislature party leader B S Yeddyurappa was today sworn in as the chief minister of Karnataka, after an overnight high-voltage legal battle in the Supreme Court.

The 75-year-old Lingayat strongman was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Vajubhai Vala at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan amid loud cheering by his supporters.

Yeddyurappa was administered the oath alone, hours after the Supreme Court refused to stay his swearing-in.

Yeddyurappa has 15 days to prove his majority in the Assembly.

The BJP has 104 MLAs in the House, eight short of the magic figure of 112.

The Congress and the JD(S) had joined hands after the election and staked claim to form the government. PTI


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