Bengaluru, Karnataka:  BS Yeddyurappa, sworn in as chief minister of a minority government in Karnataka, has 15 days to close the gap between 104 and 112 – the half way mark.

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who urged the Supreme Court to hold BS Yeddyurappa’s oath ceremony in an all-night hearing, called 15 days “licence to poaching” legislators and also claimed Mr Yeddyurappa had asked for seven days.

“There is only one way a party which got 104 will get 113… Elementary common sense and arithmetic against this kind of giving of time,” Mr Singhvi said.

Many have echoed the view on social media, alleging that 15 days is “generous” for anyone trying to “buy” a majority.

In 1998, Congress’ Jagdambika Pal got three days to prove his majority in the Uttar Pradesh assembly. In 2005, Shibu Soren initially got 19 days but the Supreme Court reduced that time.

Last year, the BJP got four days to prove its majority in Goa, where the Congress emerged the largest party but failed to take power.

In the pre-dawn hearing yesterday, three Supreme Court judges questioned: “Why give 15 days to prove majority?”

The centre’s top lawyer said, “time to prove majority can be reduced to seven days.”

The Congress and the JDS, who had also staked claim to power declaring a combined strength of 116, are preparing to “protect” their flock for two weeks.

Last evening, Congress legislators were moved into Eagleton Resorts near Bengaluru, a private property that last year hosted Gujarat Congress MLAs. The party has now decided to fly them out of Karnataka, to a resort in Kerala.

The JDS lawmakers had been put up at the Shangrila last night. They are also being taken out of Karnataka by the party, for good measure, say leaders.

The Congress has targeted the governor over the 15-day time. “Governor invites BS Yeddyurappa to manufacture a majority in 15 days. Governor gives Mr Yeddyurappa 15 days to convert the number 104 into 111,” tweeted P Chidambaram, a senior leader, after the BJP put out a copy of the governor’s letter.

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