Celebrations shift to Janata Dal-S as BJP falls short of majority

16 May 2018, 08:50 AM

Celebrations at the Malleshwaram BJP state unit headquarters were put on hold and BJP chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa cancelled tickets to fly to Delhi on Tuesday, blaming the Congress for contravening and reversing the popular mandate in the BJP favour. 

The Congress tripped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa from becoming the chief minister by offering support to Janata Dal-Secular to form the government. Karnataka election results, or even as trends began pouring in, fast paced political developments took place across the country that brought the secular forces together to stop the BJP in Karnataka. 

The results sparked off a fresh round of consultations among the Federal Front leaders who got in touch with JD-S chief HD Deve Gowda and asked him to form a government with the Congress help to stop the “communal forces”.

Among those who spoke with Deve Gowda included West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and BSP chief Mayawati

What the results show is that the Congress needed to be more accommodative when it came to other secular parties and fight the 2019 general elections together to “oust the BJP”. 

“Initially it was thought that the BJP will get the majority, but when it was clear this was not happening, the Congress wrote to the governor, saying it was supporting the JD-S to form the government,” said AICC incharge for Karnataka, Ghulam Nabi Azad

Supporting the JD-S was the Plan B of the Congress in the eventuality of the Congress not being able to form the government, Azad told media persons. 

For the Congress as well as the JD-S, it was a fight for survival as the Congress would have been evicted from an important state in the south and for the regional party the BJP would have gobbled it up. 

Congress spokesperson Shama Mohamed described the BJP as the poison and said the Congress will do everything it can to stop it in Karnataka and eject it from New Delhi in the 2019 general elections. 

For the BJP it was a classic case of so near and yet so far – with nine seats short of the magic number there was no way it could form the government, given the fact that the Congress with 78 seats giving up the CM post to HD Kumaraswamy, son of JD-S chief and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda. 

While a dejected Yeddyurappa appeared reconciled to the ground reality that power had eluded him, but claimed a high moral victory and said, “Karnataka people had rejected the Siddaramaiah government misrule lock, stock and barrel and have voted for change, responding to a clarion call given by Prime Minister Modi ji and BJP national president Amit Shah and given a mandate for Congres-free Karnataka. By people’s blessing, the BJP has emerged as the largest single party, anti-Congress wave has given considerable seats to the Janata Dal (S). Anti-incumbency is so strong that Siddaramaiah suffered a defeat in Chamundeswari.” 

As political developments took place thick and fast, former AICC president Sonia Gandhi deployed trusted lieutenants Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot – to seal the deal with the JD-S chief HD Deve Gowda and within no time the deal was done. First the Congress said outside support, but when this was rejected outright by Deve Gowda, the Congress agreed to join the government led by Kumaraswamy. 

First, the Congress sent a letter to the Karnataka governor Vaju Bhai Wala extending support to the JD-S to form the government and the party’s state unit chief G Parameswara tried to call on the governor but was sent back. 

And for good measure, the Congress state unit chief also sent a formal letter to Kumaraswamy, pledging the Congress party support to him to form the government. “There have been no conditions from the Congress in the support it is extending to us,” said JD-S spokesperson Tanveer Ahmed said after the Congress letter of support reached the hands of Kumaraswamy. 

Celebrations that ended at BJP headquarters shifted to the area outside the residence of Kumaraswamy where he gave a darshan to his cadres and supporters flashing the V sign.

BJP too stakes claim to form government

The BJP, however, was unrelenting and called on the governor to stake claim to form the government throwing the Kissa Kursi Ka in Karnataka wide open.

Clearly the Janata Dal-S and the Congress combine, a post-poll alliance, has the numbers on its side with 116 and with support of two independents is way above the magic number. But the BJP chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa staked claim to form the government since it was the largest single party, said BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar.  

Sources indicated that the party had sought two days’ time to form the government. Yeddyurappa said that he wanted a chance to form the government and prove the majority on the floor of the house. A representation has been made to the governor with this request.

Senior BJP leaders HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, Petroleum Minister Dharmedra Pradhan and Health Minister JP Nadda have been rushed to Bangalore by the BJP president Amit Shah to oversee the swearing in of a BJP government led by Yeddyurappa.

Sources are indicating that the first invite to form the government would go to Yeddyurappa. Several JD-S members were reportedly in touch with the BJP leadership.

Meanwhile, HD Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah were at the governor house to stake claim to form the government as they had the numbers.

After being upstaged in Manipur and Goa, despite winning more number of seats than the BJP, the Congress was ready with a Plan B in Karnataka. When the BJP fell short of majority, Congress leadership put its PlanB – supporting Kumaraswamy as the CM – into action to keep out the BJP and teach it a lesson.

First Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 05:11 PM

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