NEW DELHI: Congress president 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 today.

“This morning, while the BJP 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 BJP’s irrational insistence that it will form a government in Karnataka, even though it clearly doesn’t have the numbers, is to make a mockery of our Constitution,” Rahul said.

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.