Vastavam web: The Karnataka Assembly election results threw up an unexpected suspense today, as a simple majority tantalisingly eluded BJP and the Congress quickly proclaimed support to third-placed JD(S) to keep the saffron party out of power . All eyes are now on Governor Vajubhai Vala who will have to decide whether to call BJP, the single largest winner of seats, to try to form the government or go with the JD(S)-Congress combine, which together have a clear majority in the 224-member Assembly.In a roller-coaster ride for BJP, it initially appeared that the party was set to return to power after a five-year hiatus with a resounding majority. 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.
“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. “In the morning, it looked like the BJP will have enough to form the government, and on the basis of that BJP started celebrating also. 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. 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.
“We have all together discussed and decided this…. 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.A sombre-looking Yeddyurappa 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. According to the latest results declared by the Election Commission, Congress has won 74 seats and is leading in four, while JD(S) has won 37. If Congress wins the remaining four, the combine will have 115 seats, enough for a majority. BJP has won 97 and is leading in seven, for a total of 104. Mayawati’s BSP, a JD(S) ally, and KPJP have won one seat each.
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.