May 24, 2018

K'taka polls: Congress leaders allege BJP of poaching MLAs

18 May 2018, 03:50 | Opal Carroll

Karnataka state elections throw up unclear verdict

Hours before the swearing-in ceremony the apex court made it clear that the swearing-in and the government formation would be subject to the final outcome of the case before

The Congress-JD (S) claim that together they have the support of 116 MLAs. Federal Ministers Prakesh Javadekar, Dharmendra Pradhan and JP Nadda, plus Yeddyurappa and other state leaders were working on options that include MLAs from the Congress and the JD (S) being absent when the trust vote is conducted; that would reduce the mark required for a simple majority. Yeddyurappa, who had released BJP's manifesto in Bengaluru last month, declared that the decision on loan waiver would be taken in the very first Cabinet meeting if voted to power. The BJP is 8 short with 104 MLAs.

In his address, the BJP president Amit Shah said, after independence, Congress party fought the Karnataka polls in the most unethical way.

It was the JD (S), which was part of Congress-led coalition for about a year and a half, which pulled support to align with the BJP and saw Kumaraswamy rise to post of chief minister.

MLAs are being offered Rs 100 crore each. This majority is a tricky issue and it is for this reason that though the Congress was the single largest party both in Goa and Manipur, it could not form its government, since though it was the largest, it did not have the majority.

However, the move delivered a severe blow to the BJP's reputation as a "party with a difference". Modi ensured that Vala was appointed as the governor of Karnataka, a key state then held by the Congress party.

The Supreme Court had on March 9, 2015, directed the pro tem Speaker of the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly to conduct a composite floor test two days later to ascertain who enjoyed the majority - Chief Minister Shibu Soren, who was appointed by the Governor, or former Chief Minister Arjun Munda. In case of a hung assembly, governor has to call all the parties staking claim to prove their majority in the House. The region threw up some surprises, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah losing from Chamundeshwari constituency and BJP candidate Preetham Gowda winning from Hassan, the home constituency of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.

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The court said was it not a convention that the single largest party gets invited by governor to form government and prove majority. The BJP won just 15 seats in the region, which has a significant Telugu-speaking population.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi today hit out at the BJP over its "irrational insistence" to form government in Karnataka despite "not having the numbers" and said that while the saffron party will celebrate its "hollow victory", India will mourn the "defeat of democracy".

Modi wants to secure Karnataka to keep his momentum going in the run-up to the general election. By contrast, the Congress leaders were derided for their slow-footedness and for their inability to line up independent legislators; they were mocked as jaded and exhausted managers, as "NGOs", no match to the energetic and resourceful operatives in the BJP.

We (BJP) won the majority in the state... "I will inform you after getting a letter from Governor".

Analysts have highlighted the personal role of Modi in swaying the Karnataka electorate and taking the BJP to the verge of a historic swing.

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