JD(S)-Congress, BJP both stake claim

On a day of fast-paced developments with dramatic twists and turns, the BJP and the JD(S), which had the support of the Congress, on Tuesday separately claimed to form the government following a fractured mandate in the fiercely fought 2018 elections.

High political drama unfolded through the day as BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats but failed to cross the magic number (112) required to form the government. Results were announced for the 222 seats that went to polls on May 12.

Even as the BJP was wondering how to get the required numbers, the Congress, which secured 78 seats, sprang a surprise by declaring that it will back the JD(S), which won only 38 seats, in forming the government. The Congress is said to have extended unconditional support to the regional party. The combine also claimed to have the support of the KPJP and an independent (one seat each) taking the total tally of the alliance to 118.

The results of the May 12 polls also reveal that the trend in Karnataka of not voting the same government for a second consecutive term since 1985 has continued.

The day witnessed BJP leaders and the Congress along with JD(S) leaders making a beeline to Raj Bhavan to submit letters staking the claim to form the government.

JD(S) chief ministerial candidate H D Kumaraswamy, along with senior Congress leaders, met Governor Vajubhai Vala informing him about his decision to accept the Congress’ support to form the government. The details of the alliance are yet to be worked out. However, sources said KPCC president G Parameshwara could get the deputy chief minister’s post.

Earlier, a delegation of BJP leaders, including B S Yeddyurappa, met the Governor and staked the claim to form the government. The saffron party sought time to prove its majority on the floor of the House.

According to sources, the Congress had offered to give outside support to the JD(S). But JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda has insisted that the Congress should be part of the coalition government. Besides, Gowda is said to have told the Congress leaders that Kumaraswamy should be allowed to complete his five-year term as the chief minister. And the Congress is said to have accepted both the conditions.

With both the sides staking claim to form the government, the ball is now in the Governor’s court.

The Governor is said to have told both the camps that he will take a decision after the election commission declares the full results.

Amid political uncertainty, there was talk that the BJP was planning another ‘Operation Lotus’ by making opposition legislators resign to reduce the numbers in the Assembly.

Both the Congress and JD(S) are said to be planning to shift their MLAs to resorts outside Karnataka to prevent them from being poached.

Earlier in the day, the results came as a disappointment to the two national parties — the Congress and the BJP — as they did not get the numbers to form the government on their own.

The BJP emerged as the single-largest party, but it turned out to be a disappointment as it stood nine seats short of forming the government. Though the BJP initially looked set to sail through and win a simple majority in the 224-member Assembly (polling was held for 222 seats), as the day progressed and more trends and results started pouring in, an outright victory seemed improbable.

Caught off guard with the Congress extending support to the JD(S) to form the government, the BJP cried foul. Yeddyurappa accused the Congress of trying to subvert the popular mandate and come back to power through the back door.

The Congress’ numbers were reduced from 122 in 2013 to 78.

Siddaramaiah had to face embarrassment as he lost badly to G T Devegowda of the JD(S) in Chamundeshwari.

However, he won from his second seat Badami against B Sriramulu of the BJP.

Several of Siddaramaiah’s Cabinet colleagues, including seniors like T B Jayachandra, Basavaraj Rayareddy and 14 others, were defeated.

Kumaraswamy won from both the seats he contested — Ramanagara and Channapatna — and Yeddyurappa from Shikaripura.

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JD(S)-Congress, BJP both stake claim

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