Guv must invite JD(S) to form govt

The Karnataka Assembly elections have thrown up a hung House but not without the possibility of a government being formed. A hung House in which no party gets an absolute majority had been predicted. Now that the predictions have come true, there is some uncertainty about who will form a government and how it will be formed. The BJP has emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, but it has no strength to form a government with a majority. The Congress is the second largest party with 77 seats and the Janata Dal(S) has 38 seats. Two seats have gone to Independents. With the Congress offering to support the JD(S) to form a government, both parties together will have a majority in the House. JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy has met Governor Vajubhai Vala and staked his claim to form the government with the support of the Congress. Both parties have worked out and agreed on the broad terms of their coalition. 

The BJP has also staked its claim to form the government with the party’s leader B S Yeddyurappa meeting the governor and asserting that the party will prove its majority in the House within a week. The governor has yet to take a decision in a situation in which conflicting precedents exist. But a greater number of precedents, including the most recent ones, support the idea of parties coming together to form a government with majority support. The BJP has itself formed governments in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya when it was not the single largest party. It took the support of other parties or supported others to secure a majority, and the governors accepted the claims. The Bommai case judgement, which has laid down guidelines for governors in such situations, has also prescribed that an alliance of parties which has a majority should be invited to form the government before the single largest party is given the chance. 

The Congress did well to offer to support the JD(S). It could not stake its claim to form the government because it received a setback in the elections, losing a big chunk of the seats it had held. But the JD(S) has every right to form a government. The BJP made big electoral gains but as long as it does not have a majority it has no right to claim to form a government. It is clear that any majority support it can muster will be through defections from other parties. The governor must go by the more established precedents and the clear guidelines given by the Bommai case judgment and invite JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy to form the government. 

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Guv must invite JD(S) to form govt

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