Bangalore: As it sought support from at least three members of the newly elected legislative assembly to form government in Karnataka, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, got a taste of things to come when it starts ruling the state. Its rivals, the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular),or JD(S), have already started to work in tandem.
The two parties together have 108 seats in the assembly, while the BJP has 110.
The assembly has six independents and the BJP required the support of at least three of them for a simple majority.
Heading for power: The BJP legislature party formally elected B.S. Yeddyurappa as its leader on Monday. (Photo: Hemant Mishra/MINT)
Karnataka Pradesh Congress chief Mallikarjuna Kharge accused the saffron party of trying to “pressurize” these independents. Kharge said his party would complain to governor Rameshwar Thakur, if the BJP continued with these tactics.
But the party’s leadership in Delhi sent out a clear signal that it does not want to fish in troubled waters .
“We accept defeat. We wish the BJP well. But we will play our democratic role of opposing, exposing and deposing the government,” All India Congress Committee general secretary Prithviraj Chavan told reporters in the Capital.
JD(S) leader H. D. Kumaraswamy, whose party has 28 MLAs in the new assembly, accused the BJP of attempting to split the party. “Attempts are being made to break our party and various blandishments are being offered to our MLAs. However, the BJP will not succeed in splitting the JD(S),” said Kumaraswamy.
The six independents, who hold the key to power, have been elected from Kanakagiri, Hiriyur, Hosadurga, Kolar, Pavagada and Malavalli.
While Kanakagiri MLA Shivaraj Sangappa Tangadagi is a BJP rebel, all the other independents are Congress rebels.
The BJP claimed that both Tangadagi and Hosadurga independent MLA Goolihatti Shekar had already extended their support to it and and that three more independent MLAs would be joining the party.
Earlier in the day, the BJP legislature party met in Bangalore and formally elected B. S. Yeddyurappa as its leader.
“I am thankful to the legislature party for unanimously selecting me,” said Yeddyurappa. Party leaders met the Karnataka governor late on Monday to stake claim to form the government.
Reacting to reports that said the BJP won primarily because of upper-caste support, Yeddyurappa said: “Of the 36 scheduled caste seats (those reserved for candidates from the scheduled castes), the BJP has won 22. Of the 15 scheduled tribe seats, we have won seven. In 51 of the state’s reserved constituencies, we have won in 29, indicating that we have won the backing of all sections of society.”
PTI contributed to this story.