As the post-poll drama of a hung assembly intensifies the JD-S and Congress are making preemptive attacks on the BJP to prevent it from poaching their MLAs. All eyes are on the Governor of Karnataka on which party he calls to form the government.
Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy on Wednesday accused the BJP of offering Rs 100 crore and cabinet posts to its newly elected legislators in a “desperate” attempt to form a government in Karnataka.
“Our legislators have been offered Rs 100 crore and cabinet seats by the BJP in return for support. Where are the Income Tax officials now?” the former Chief Minister asked at a press conference after a party legislators’ meet held here.
The JD-S leader named Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah for the offer as the BJP, he said, was desperate to form a government and deny the JD-S a chance to form a government with Congress backing. “This attempt by the BJP to poach our legislators will backfire as there are people who are willing to leave the BJP to support us (JD-S),” he alleged.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar rejected the charges. “Rs 100 crore figure is not only imaginary but it is what the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular do politics with. We are going by the rules. We do not deal in horse-trading of any kind,” he said.
Javadekar, who is the Karnataka in-charge for the BJP said, “We are confident of forming a government. We have met the Governor and submitted our claim. We are very sure that we will make a government and a very stable one.”
The allegation was, however, repeated by outgoing chief minister Siddaramaiah, who accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of encouraging horse trading so the BJP returned to power.
“Narendra Modi is encouraging horsetrading. The governor has to give (the first) opportunity (for forming the government) to us,” he told reporters.
When asked about reports that some of the 78 newly elected Congress MLAs had skipped today’s meeting of its legislature party, he said, “We are all united”.
D K Shivakumar, the resourceful minister in the Siddaramaiah government who had hosted party lawmakers from Gujarat at a resort in Karnataka to prevent “poaching” by the BJP ahead of Rajya Sabha elections in that state, also claimed two MLAs who were reportedly missing were with the Congress.
“Nagendra and Anand Singh are in touch with us. All 78 MLAs are together. If we are not, people will beat us,” he told TV channel India Today.
The JD-S president ruled out aligning with the BJP this time, to avoid hurting his father, JD-S supremo and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda. “There is a black mark on my father’s political career for allying with BJP earlier. So I’m going with the Congress,” Kumaraswamy asserted.
The JD-S and Congress together have the required majority to form the government, he said. “We will be meeting the Governor again on Wednesday evening to urge him to give us a chance to form the government as we have the majority of MLAs.”
Kumaraswamy became Chief Minister in February 2006 with the support of the BJP and headed the first coalition government in the state for 20 months till October 2007 when the alliance collapsed, leading to President’s rule in the state.
Accusing the BJP of using the central government machinery to target opposition leaders, Kumaraswamy denied meeting any BJP leader, but admitted that many newly elected legislators from the BJP and Congress were in touch with him on government formation.
Kumaraswamy agreed to accept Congress’ unconditional support in forming the new government. “I didn’t agree to accept the offer (of support from Congress) for the sake of Chief Minister’s post, but it is to safeguard the interests of the state,” he asserted.
Of the 222 constituencies where polling was held on May 12, the BJP won in 104 seats, while the Congress won in 78 and JD-S won in 38 seats, along with its ally Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which won one seat, resulting in a hung verdict.
The BJP is eight seats short of the 112-halfway mark needed for a simple majority, while the Congress and JD-S together have 116 seats. (IANS)