The kissa kursi ka was well played out in Karnataka on Wednesday with BJP chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa calling on Governor Vajubhai Vala to stake claim amid buzz that he could be sworn in on Thursday, sparking off intense fightback from the Janata Dal-Secular and the Congress.
Yeddyurappa and union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and other senior leaders from Delhi called on the governor and sought two days’ time to form a stable government, and in the meanwhile attempt to cobble up the numbers.
Amid the buzz that the governor could invite Yeddyurappa to have the first shot at government formation, accepting his plea that he was the leader of the largest single party (formally elected at BJP MLAs meet here on Wednesday morning), the Congress upped the ante. It has declared that it will move the Supreme Court if Yeddyurappa was given the first chance to form the government, citing a plethora of past court rulings and also citing the Congress, JD (S) numbers – 116 that it rightfully deserved to form the government.
In fact, recently in Goa, Manipur and Mizoram the post-poll alliance featuring the BJP was invited to form the government instead of the Congress that was the largest single party. The Congress is also toying with the idea of parading its MLAs in front of the governor and if the governor was proving difficult, to go to Delhi and present the MLAs before the President.
But all eyes are on the governor as to what decision he takes. For the present, he has not indicated anything about his decision. Raj Bhavan sources confirmed that a delegation of BJP had met him on Wednesday and submitted pleas and documents of support of 104 BJP MLAs and one independent MLA. Besides, the BJP delegation also tried to impress upon the governor that it had the numbers and it will prove its majority on the floor of the house.
But Congress leader question from where the BJP will get the numbers? “Unless the BJP indulges in horse trading and attempted to break the Janata Dal (S) and Congress with monetary allurements and bribes in the form of ministerial berths, it cannot get the numbers at all,” said senior Karnataka Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy.
The Congress MLAs meeting held on Wednesday endorsed the decision to tie up with Janata Dal and back Kumaraswamy as the chief minister. Four MLAs of the Congress were missing but the party leaders asserted that they were on their way to Bangalore and that they would reach in time for the MLAs parade before the governor.
As fast-paced political developments continued, the Karnataka Political League is living up to its promise of high drama and action. There is talk of moving the MLAs to resorts to protect them from predatory BJP moves.
Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy charged that the BJP was offering Rs 100 crore per MLA and a cabinet berth to cross over.
“The BJP can try all it can, but not even one MLA will go,” Kumaraswamy told a media conference at which his party leaders also indicated that he will call on governor to stake claim again, citing the numbers that were with him.
The Congress and the JD (S) together have 116 members, three members over and above the magic number of 113 in a 224-member assembly. For the present though the elections were held for 222 seats on May 12, as polling in one constituency was countermanded and one had to be postponed due to the death of a BJP candidate.
Javadekar refuted charges of horse-trading and bribery levelled by Janata Dal (S) leader HD Kumaraswamy and said the BJP did not believe in bribery or horse trading. It was all in the imagination in the minds of the Congress and JD (S) leaders, he said, and declared that the BJP had the requisite numbers.
“Some Congress and JD (S) MLAs are unhappy with the post-poll tie-up between their two parties,” Javadekar said, hinting that the BJP was gaining its confidence about the numbers as it was hoping to wean away from the JD(S) and the Congress.