New Delhi, May 16: As Karnataka witnessed fractured mandate and heads towards a hung Assembly on Tuesday, all eyes are now set on Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, who will take the crucial decision whom to call first to form the government in the state. Both Janata Dal (Secular) backed by the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegations met the Karnataka Governor and staked the claim to power.
The BJP, which appeared confident of returning to power in its only southern bastion, emerged as the single largest party but failed to cross the half-way mark in the 224-member Assembly where two constituencies didn’t vote on Saturday. On the other hand, the Congress which bagged approx 74 seats quickly announced its support to the Janata Dal-Secular which finished third with 37 seats in a bid to keep the BJP away from forming a government. (Opinion: Are The People of Karnataka Getting The Government They Voted For?)
The Janata Dal Secular-led by former PM HD Deve Gowda quickly accepted the offer and wrote to the Governor staking claim to form government in the state. Notably, Congress had been sending out feelers for a few days now, with Siddaramaiah, who had been projecting himself as the Chief Ministerial candidate all this while, saying on Monday that he was willing to relinquish his claim to the seat for a Dalit candidate.
Addressing media earlier on Tuesday, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had said,”We had a telephonic conversation with Deve Gowda ji and Kumaraswamy. They have accepted our offer of support. The JD (S) will head the government. Hopefully, we will be together.” Reacting over Congress’ support, JD-S Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said,” I have accepted the support extended by the Congress to form the government.”
“JD(S) had always maintained that HD Kumaraswamy will be CM. As per results, we’re doing everything to keep BJP out of power. Congress has extended its support, we have accepted it,” said Janata Dal (Secular) leader Danish Ali.
According to the results declared by the Election Commission, Congress has won 78 seats while JD(S) has won 37, the combine will have 115 seats, enough for a majority. BJP has won a total of 104. Mayawati’s BSP, a JD(S) ally, and KPJP have won one seat each.
With this arithmetic, the ball now lies in the Governor Vajubhai Vala’s court. Though he is expected to invite the single largest party, the same tradition wasn’t followed in Goa and Manipur, where the Congress party had turned out to be the single largest party. However, he can also invite two parties who have joined hands to form the government.
(With agency inputs)