BJP legislature party has elected BS Yeddyurappa as its leader. As the leader of the single largest party, BSY may formally stake claim to form the government in Karnataka. But from where will the BJP get its numbers considering it is still short by seven out of 222 seats for which elections have been held in the House of 224.
These are the three possibilities which BJP could be exploring amidst the current impasse.
Operation Lotus Redux
In 2008, the BJP was just three short of the half-way mark in the state Assembly. The party got four JD(S) and three Congress MLAs to resign from the Assembly, thereby bringing down the threshold for proving majority in the House.
In the current Assembly, the BJP has 104 MLAs. It can cross the half-way mark if the effective strength of the House comes down to 207.
That is on the day of the trust vote or before 15 sitting MLAs from the opposition Congress and JD(S) camp quit.
BSY takes the Vajpayee Route
In 1996, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn in by President Shankar Dayal Sharma as the Prime Minister. The BJP did not have numbers but decided to stake a claim and form the government. Vajpayee faced the trust vote, made an emotional speech which was telecast live by the national broadcaster.
After the two-day debate, former PM decided not to face the voters and instead drove down to Rashtrapati Bhavan to tender resignation. It was the BJP’s first brush with power at the Centre as the leader of a non-Congress party; and a tactical move to expand its political footprint beyond the traditional stronghold in the north and the east.
Will BSY take the Vajpayee route and face the Assembly without numbers on his side and go down as a martyr.
The target audience would be core BJP vote base in Karnataka, especially the Lingayats.
Or will BJP bow out
The third option could be BJP declining to form a government if they feel the party doesn’t have numbers in the newly elected Assembly.
But the BJP may be looking at developments in Karnataka with an eye on 28 Lok Sabha seats which will go to elections next year. A JD(S)-Congress pre-poll alliance would pose a formidable challenge to Modi’s bid for another term at the Centre.