Wednesday, 16 May 2018 | Kestur Vasuki | Bengaluru–
As the Congress on Tuesday sacrificed power and pride to stop the BJP from forming the Government in Karnataka by rushing to lend support to the Janata Dal(Secular), all eyes are on Governor Vajubhai Vala. Both chief ministerial candidates — BS Yedyurappa (BJP) and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy — called on the Governor back to back and staked claim to form a Government. The Governor is taking legal consultation and decision is expected soon.
In 222 constituencies, where elections were held on May 12, BJP won 104 seats, Congress 78, JD(S) 37, BSP 1, KPJP 1, and Independent 1. Any party will need 112 seats for a simple majority in the 222-member Assembly.
Learning a lesson from Goa and Manipur, the Congress decided to lend unconditional support to the JD(S) the moment it became clear that the BJP was going to emerge as the single largest party in the hung House.
While UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi spoke to JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda, the Congress dispatched senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, Ashok Gehlot and others to Bengaluru for further talks. It is obvious that the Congress had plan ‘B’ ready to stop the BJP from forming a Government in the State.
For the JD(S), Siddaramaiah, who was a foe a few hours ago, became a friend and senior JD(S) and Congress leaders went together to meet the Governor claiming to form a Government. Emerging from the Raj Bhavan, Kumaraswamy said the Governor would decide on who to call to form a Government after results are announced by the EC.
“We had detailed discussion with the senior leadership of the AICC after which they extended full support to the JD(S) to form a Government. We then took this claim to the Governor, who said that he will take a decision after the EC announces the results,” he said.
However, a BJP source confirmed that with the BJP emerging as the single largest party, the Governor will invite Yeddyurappa after he is elected the leader of the legislative party. Source also confirmed Yeddyurappa will be sworn in as the Chief Minister on May 17. The BJP is working out strategies to garner required 8 more members to step up its tally for a simple majority.
In the joint Press conference in front of the Raj Bhavan, Siddaramaiah said the Congress-JD(S) combine has legitimate claim to form the Government.
He said, “According to the norms stated by the EC, 112 seats are required and our combined numbers meet these requirements so we have a legitimate claim to form a Government.” He also said the process to form a Government will begin as soon as the Governor takes a decision. Siddaramaiah said, “We have also communicated our support to JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda and we will start the process to form a Government as soon as the Governor makes his decision known.”
“A similar claim has been made to the Governor by the JD(S),” he added. According to State Congress president
G Parameshwara, all modalities are to be decided later and the Congress has given its unconditional support to the JD(S).
“Leaders of both the parties have met the Governor. We have submitted our claim to the Governor. The process will take over as soon as the Governor takes a call. The modalities will be decided later,” Parameshwara told reporters.
Earlier, a BJP delegation led by Yeddyurappa, Union Ministers HN Anantha Kumar, Sadananda Gowda and other senior leaders met the Governor to stake claim. Yeddyurappa said being single largest party they have claimed their stake to form the Government and gave a letter to the Governor.
However, it is interesting to note that in Manipur and Goa, both now ruled by the BJP, despite emerging as the single largest party the Congress was not called to form the Government.
The BJP, which stitched up post-poll alliances was given time to meet the Governor and staked claim to form the Government.
If the Governor invites the BJP on the ground of it emerging as the single largest party, a large number of successful candidates may have to spend several days confined to resorts. The only way the BJP could prove its majority is by poaching on the Congress and the JD(S) MLAs. Already talks were doing the rounds that at least seven Lingayat Congress MLAs were unhappy over the party’s readiness to accept Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister.
The JD(S) and the Congress will have to closely guard its winners to prevent any such possibility. Both Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy expressed fear that the BJP might try to poach their legislators. “We are guarding against such a move,” they said.
Mohan Kondajji, a Congress MLC who played a key role in bringing warring factions together, said, “The decision was taken to keep the secular traditions alive and the Congress accepted to support the JD(S). The Governor, keeping Goa and Meghalaya as precedents, should allow us to form the Government.”
The Karnataka verdict has decimated the predictions of some of the exit polls making the BJP the single largest party.
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