Tuesday saw a high drama befitting the most important political battle of 2018. A few hours into counting of votes in the Karnataka Assembly elections, when it looked that the BJP could grab 100-plus seats, the Congress made a stunning announcement – of offering unconditional support to the Janata Dal (Secular) and staking claim to form a coalition government. An outsmarted BJP also declared it will stake claim to form the next government given that it has emerged as the single largest party.
The final results threw up a fractured verdict – BJP 104 seats, Congress 78 and the JD(S) 37 – with no party having a clear majority of 113 seats in the 224-seat Karnataka Assembly. Amid massive fears of poaching, the drama has moved on to a second day with the spotlight firmly on the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru and everyone keenly watching who Governor Vajubhai Vala will call for the floor test. BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa met the Governor this morning. Congress and JD(S) went to the Raj Bhavan last evening.
All that has happened since the Karnataka Election results were declared:
* Congress and JDS took their MLAs to the Raj Bhavan at 5pm. They may possibly parade them before Governor Vajabhai Vala to buttress their claim of having enough numbers to form the government.
* Earlier, BS Yeddyurappa met the Governor Wednesday morning. In a presser later, he said: “I met the Governor and handed over letters of support that we have. He told me he will take the appropriate decision as early as possible.”
* only 66 out of the 78 MLAs were present at the Congress legislative meeting held at KPCC office in Bengaluru. Congress, however, said some MLAs were delayed as they took a special flight from Bidar.
*JD(S) president H D Kumaraswamy is elected leader of JD(S) legislature party. In a press conference, he said his MLAs were being offered Rs 100 crore and cabinet ranks. BJP’s Prakash Javadekar rejected the charges as ‘imaginary’.
Karnataka government formation: Congress-JD(S) and BJP stake claim to power Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy speaks to the media on Tuesday after staking claim to form the government with the Congress
* Congress’ Amaregouda Linganagouda Patil Bayyapur, who won the election from Kushtagi, says he was contacted by the BJP and asked to switch sides,
* Siddaramaiah said the Governor has to invite the JD(S)-Congress to form the government as they have the support of 117 MLAs. “PM Modi is encouraging horse-trading. We are all united,” he said on claims of dissent in the party.
* if Congress-JD(S) were not invited by the Governor, then their MLAs will sit on a ‘dharna’ outside Raj Bhavan from tomorrow. MPs may also join them.
* When asked if Congress would take the legal recourse, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told that: “At this juncture, we’ve complete faith in the Governor that he will go by the Constitution and not party politics.”
*BJP’s central leadership had on Tuesday rushed leaders J P Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan and Prakash Javadekar to Bengaluru. P Muralidhar Rao, in-charge of Karnataka who had come to Delhi Monday, also returned to the state after meeting Amit Shah
*After the results, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “I want to assure the people of Karnataka that the BJP will not allow the state’s development journey to be trampled upon”.
*As many as 18 ministers of the Siddaramaiah government were defeated. The Chief Minister himself lost one of the two seats he contested by a wide margin.
*The BJP won 16 of 19 seats in coastal Karnataka as against four in 2013, and 30 of 50 seats in the Mumbai Karnataka region where it won only 13 last time.
*Over a year ago, the BJP had formed governments in Manipur and Goa despite not being the single largest party in the polls. Much like BJP now, Congress had then cried foul and termed it ‘murder of democracy’.