Bengaluru, May 18: Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R Vala on Friday appointed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator KG Bopaiah as pro tem Speaker of the state Assembly ahead of the crucial floor test on Saturday. KG Bopaiah, who had been the Speaker of the Karnataka Assembly from 2009 to 2013, has taken oath as pro tem Speaker of the state Assembly. Earlier today, the Supreme Court said the pro tem speaker will take decisions in accordance with the law on the issue of floor test in Karnataka Assembly.

KG Bopaiah is known to be a close aide of BS Yeddyurappa. In October 2010, several BJP MLAs had objected to the government under the leadership of Yeddyurappa following reports of illegal mining scam. Bopaiah, who was the Speaker, had disqualified 11 rebel BJP MLAs and 5 independents, playing a major role in the survival of the first BJP government in Karnataka. For his controversial move, Bopaiah faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for the decision and the manner in which he acted during the trust vote.

Reacting to the appointment of KG Bopaiah as pro tem Speaker, the Congress said its senior-most MLA Raghunath Vishvanath Deshpande should have been ignored. “What the BJP has done is against the rulebook. Ideally, the senior-most leader is supposed to hold that position,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi said. The Supreme on Friday said the pro tem speaker, the seniormost member of the Assembly, would administer the newly-elected members their oath and then conduct the floor test.

Congress’s Deshpande is the senior most member in the House and has won elections eight out of the nine times since 1983. The second most senior leader in the House is BJP’s Umesh Vishwanath Katti – who has won seven out of eight elections since 1985.

A bench of Justice A K Sikri, Justice S A Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan directed that the floor test be held in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 pm on Saturday to ascertain the support Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa enjoys, slashing the time given to him by Governor to prove his majority following a split verdict. The apex court also barred Yeddyurappa from taking any policy decisions till the floor test. BJP legislative party leader Yeddyurappa was on Thursday morning sworn in as the Chief Minister after the May 12 election threw up a hung Assembly.

The BJP won 104 of the 222 seats, falling eight short of the 112-halfway mark. The Congress bagged 78 seats and the JD-S 37. The Congress and JD-S formed a post-poll coalition and staked claim to form the government.