Bengaluru: BS Yeddurappa of the BJP, Karnataka’s single largest party but short of a majority, staked claim to form government in the state on Tuesday evening. Minutes later, HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal Secular too met the state governor to stake claim, backed by the Congress.
The BJP is leading in or has won 104 seats. The Congress has 78 and the JD(S) 37, together 115, which is more than the halfway mark at 112. Elections were held for 222 of Karnataka’s 224 seats on Saturday and votes were counted today.
“The governor has asked us to wait for two days," Kumaraswamy said after his meeting with the Governor Vajubhai Vala. He claimed that apart from the Congress’ backing, he also has the support of two independent MLAs.
The BJP has said it must be invited to form government as the largest party. Yeddyurappa said his party will “form the government 100%,"and accused the Congress of making “unholy attempts" to grab power by offering its support the JD(S).
In Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it an “unprecedented victory" for the BJP, as he and party president Amit Shah attended a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board.
Earlier in the day, as the BJP surged ahead, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee tweeted saying the Karnataka results would have been “very different" had the Congress allied with the JDS.
The Congress bid for power in Karnataka is being compared to the BJP’s quick move to gather support and form government in states like Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya in the recent past even though the Congress won more seats that the BJP in these state elections.
In Goa in March last year, the Congress, despite winning 17 seats to the BJP’s 13 in the 40-member Goa assembly, was outmanoeuvred by the BJP which stitched together a coalition with two smaller parties and independents to form the government. In exactly similar fashion, the BJP swiftly reached out to regional satraps and outfits in Manipur last year and Meghalaya earlier this year to pip the Congress to the post and form governments.