LAST_UPDATESat, 23 Jun 2018 9pm

India's Karnataka State Gets New Govt Amid Allegations Of Bribery

NEW DELHI -- The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed a new government in India's southern state of Karnataka on Thursday as the Congress party mounted a legal challenge saying its opponent lacked a majority in the legislature.

State governor Vajubhai Vala gave new Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa 15 days to win a trial of strength in assembly.

"I am sure of winning the vote of confidence and my government completing five years," 75-year-old Yeddyurappa said.

The BJP has 104 lawmakers, eight short of a simple majority, while the Congress won 78 seats and its ally Janata Dal (Secular) has 37 members.

There are allegations that many newly-elected legislators are being offered huge amounts of cash to defect. The Congress was moving its lawmakers to a secluded resort to stop them from coming into contact with potential poachers.

Some Congress lawmakers have reportedly gone "missing".

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said "humongous things are happening in terms of money".

India's Supreme Court held a rare hearing around 2 am as the Congress made a desperate attempt to prevent the BJP from taking power in the key state that it ruled before this month's election.

The top court declined to block the new chief minister's swearing-in but ruled that the government formation would be subject to the final outcome of the case before it.

"This court is not passing any order staying the oath taking ceremony of B S Yeddyurappa. In case, he is given oath in the meantime, that shall be subject to further orders of this court and final outcome of the writ petition," the court said.