Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Friday pledged to “bring a new political environment" as he proved a slim majority for the alliance between the Congress and his Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), bringing to close a prolonged drama over government formation in the coveted southern state.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by B.S. Yeddyurappa, walked out before Kumaraswamy proved his majority in the 224-seat house with the support of 77 members of the Congress, 36 of the JD(S), one member of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and two independents, taking the total to 116 (Kumaraswamy had won from two seats) and crossing the 112 simple majority mark.
K.R. Ramesh Kumar of the Congress, who was elected assembly speaker unanimously before the trust vote, was not required to cast his vote.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition emerged after voters returned a fractured verdict in the 12 May assembly polls in Karnataka—an election played up for its significance ahead of the 2019 general election.
The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, but the Congress with 78 seats and the JD(S) with 38 (along with its pre-poll ally BSP) formed a post-poll alliance.
In remarks to the assembly, Kumaraswamy said his government will continue all the programmes of the previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government and will waive farmers’ loans, adding, “We won’t take loans to fulfil programmes from the manifesto".
“A new political environment will grow from the soil of Karnataka," Kumaraswamy said before the trust vote.
Yeddyurappa, having resigned as chief minister without the numbers needed to prove the BJP’s majority, launched a bitter attack on Kumaraswamy. Almost choking with emotion, he likened Kumaraswamy to Duryodhana, the antagonist in the epic Mahabharata.
Yeddyurappa warned the new government of a state-wide bandh if it did not waive all farmer loans by Friday evening. The JD(S) had promised to waive Rs53,000 crore of farm loans in its election manifesto.
Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in on Wednesday was showcased as a possible prelude to opposition strategy for the 2019 general election, with the top leaders from all parties opposing the BJP attending it.