Congress-JD(S) Open New Doors for Opposition Unity in 2019

Karnataka state elections throw up unclear verdict

Massive bribes are likely to be on offer in the Indian high-tech state of Karnataka, where Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party wants to form a government following assembly polls last weekend. I have given the letter to the Governor and he would call me.

I seek your support and blessings as I take oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka tomorrow on May 17 at 9 AM in Raj Bhavan.

The BJP emerged as the single largest party but fell nine seats short of a majority in Karnataka Legislative Assembly polls, the results of which were declared yesterday.

ALL EYES were on Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on Tuesday after hotly-contested elections threw up a hung Assembly, forcing the BJP and a hurriedly stitched alliance of the Congress and the JD (S) to stake claim to form a Government. We have our numbers, not not even a single member has moved out. Mayawati, sources said, subsequently spoke to Sonia and suggested that Congress extend support to JD (S) to which she agreed.

The wanna be CM said the BJP had already started backdoor talks with his party MLAs with lucrative offers. However, BJP, backed by regional parties National People's Party (NPP - four MLAs), Naga People's Front (NPF - four MLAs) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP - one MLA), formed the government, in a setback for Congress. If Governor decides in favour of Yeddyurappa, huge uproar from JD (S) and Congress is expected since it will be considered as against to the previous precedents set in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya where the largest coalition is invited to form the government. It has also been argued that dilution of the Congress' profile will help unhappy allies of BJP like Shiv Sena to play a greater role in criticising BJP's actions.

Congress leader DK Shivakumar, who in 2017 hit headlines for protecting Gujarat Congress MLAs from being poached, has also accused the BJP of "poaching MLAs". "Nobody is missing. We are confident of forming the government".

Irrespective of these arguments, the fact remains that all such gubernatorial decisions, Including the crucial one to be taken by the Karnataka governor, can be challenged in court. The BJP sent a similar delegation headed by BS Yeddyurappa, a former chief minister, He later said that the governor had given the BJP about a week to prove a majority on the floor of the assembly, though this was not officially confirmed. The other option, but not being given much weightage, is to resort to Operation Lotus - by poaching MLAs from Congress and JD (S) - to reach the magic number of 113.

The 69-year-old leader received flak from several senior party MLAs, who held him responsible for the Congress' performance, citing his complete authority in selection of candidates and the Lingayat issue, they said.

Targeting the governor, Surjewala said that Vajubhai Vala has "soiled for ever the high dignity office of governor and faith of the people". The BJP juggernaut has been successful in crushing the Congress.

Chikmaagaluru-Udupi MP and BJP State General Secretary Shobha Karandlaje alleged that phones of BJP leaders are being tapped in the wake of a fractured verdict. According to media reports, as the results came in, Opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Sitaram Yechury, K Chandrasekhar Rao and Mayawati dialled JD (S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda asking him to remain committed to the secular cause and stay away from joining hands with the BJP.

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