Bengaluru, May 15 The BJP emerged as the single largest party in Karnataka election but fell short of magic number to form the govt in the state. Now It is the governor Vajubhai Vala to call the BJP first to form the government or to go with the JD(S)-Congress combine, which together have a clear majority in the 224-member Assembly.
Elections were held for 222 seats on May 12.
Earlier both sides rushed to meet Vala, their vehicles slowly cutting through the throngs of party workers and supporters assembled outside the Raj Bhavan gates, and staked claim to power.
Though the numbers looks good for the BJP when the counting was on even the party people were confident that they will form the government without any help. But as all the trends became known, it appeared the party will fall a few seats short of the 112 needed to form the government. Even the party workers were celebrating the win.
“We had to be ready for any eventuality. So when there was a window, we chipped in,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told India Today TV. Meanwhile, we fared well. JD(S) did not fare that well. And later, when the JD(S) and the Congress numbers swelled up, that was the time we felt we can make it,” he said.
Azad’s comments summed up the breathtaking daylong developments in an election seen as a bellwether for the 2019 general elections at a time when the saffron wave is sweeping the country. Karnataka was the only major non-BJP ruled state, and the party offices had reverberated with jubilation in the morning when initial trends put it ahead.
Several BJP and Congress leaders rushed to Bengaluru from the national capital.
The swift political manoeuvring by Congress in reaching out to JD(S) headed showed that it had learnt its lesson after the debacle in Manipur and Goa where it failed to form the government despite being the single largest party because of BJP’s clever moves.
This is the opinion of the All India Congress party. Congress will support JD(S) because there is a hung Assembly situation here as no party has been given clear majority by the people,” outgoing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters.
Siddaramaiah, who handed over his resignation to Vala, said:”In a democracy we will have to accept people’s verdict, we have accepted it. Our decision is to support JD(S). It is our unanimous decision.”
BJP CM candidate was not happy and said the people of Karnataka had rejected the Siddaramaiah government “lock, stock and barrel”.
“The Congress is trying to subvert the popular mandate and come back to power through the back door. People of Karnataka will never accept this,” he said.
After a high voter turnout, the Election Commission announced that the Congress had won 37.9 per cent of votes as against BJP’s 36.2 per cent. JD(S), headed by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, got 18.4 per cent votes. Gowda’s son H D Kumaraswamy is its chief ministerial candidate.
Soon after Congress declared its support to JD(S), Kumaraswamy wrote to the governor informing him that he had accepted the offer to be the chief minister.
“This is to submit to your good self that I have accepted the support extended by the Indian National Congress (I) party for forming the government. In this regard, I seek your appointment today evening between 5.30 pm to 6.00 pm,” Kumaraswamy said in the letter released to the media.
Yeddyurappa said he too would meet the governor in the evening to stake claim to form the government.
“I have taken an appointment with Governor, because we are the single largest party, so they must give the opportunity to form the government,” Yeddyurappa told reporters. “Myself, (union minister) Ananth Kumar and all our leaders … we are going to meet governor,” he said.
The usual practice is for the governor to call the leader of the single largest party or pre-poll alliance to form the government, and in the event of a hung Assembly, asks him to prove the majority on the floor of the House.
Since the Congress and JD(S) did not have a pre-poll alliance, it remains to be seen if he invites Kumaraswamy to form the government.