Tuesday, February 7, 2023
HomePoliticsKarnataka Elections 2018Kumaraswamy dares BJP: I am not a saint, can poach your MLAs...

Kumaraswamy dares BJP: I am not a saint, can poach your MLAs if you poach ours

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All parties are trying to keep their flock close, making calls to each of their MLA-elects to ensure they had not been poached.

Bengaluru: Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy accused the BJP of trying to poach legislators as uncertainty prevailed Wednesday over who would get to form the new government in Karnataka.

“Rs 100 crore and a cabinet position is being offered to some of my MLAs. How can the BJP talk about corruption when they indulge in such tactics, where is the I-T department now?” he told a press conference.

Kumaraswamy said he was no saint and would fight back if the BJP poached his MLA-elects.

After early results suggested a clear BJP victory Tuesday, trends changed to yield a hung assembly. While the BJP got 104 of the 222 seats to which elections were held on 12 May (two will vote later), the Congress and the JD(S) got 78 and 37, respectively.

Feverish brainstorming ensued and the Congress soon approached the JD(S) with the offer to form a coalition government led by the latter. A deal was sealed, and representatives of the party subsequently met governor Vajubhai Vala to stake claim to form the government. Along with the BSP’s one, they claim to have the support of 116 MLAs.

The Congress has cited the Supreme Court’s Bommai judgment as well as last year’s Goa and Manipur assembly elections as precedent to justify the coalition’s claim.

“The normal rule is to call the single largest party. But there are always exceptions. If the BJP could work on this exception in Goa and Manipur, why cry foul now?” a Congress leader said.

Despite being short of the majority, the BJP chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa has approached governor Vala too, seeking a week’s time to prove his majority.

“We are 100 per cent confident that he will take a decision immediately,” Yeddyurappa told reporters.

Earlier in the day, BSY had said he was confident of forming the government, adding that independent MLA Shankar had offered his support to the BJP.

With the result depending on the numbers each side has, all the parties have been trying to keep their flock close, making calls to each of their MLA-elects to ensure they had not been poached.

On edge

There was a brief scare for the Congress Wednesday as rumours suggested three of its MLA-elects had gone missing Tuesday night. But the trio subsequently got in touch with leaders of the JD(S) as well as the Congress and vowed support to the coalition.

The two parties have now decided to move their MLA-elects to a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru to thwart alleged poaching bids. They will reportedly be kept at the same resort where 42 Congress MLAs of Gujarat were holed up amid similar fears ahead of the Rajya Sabha election last year.

Uncertainty prevails over who Vala will invite to form the government: The single largest party, the BJP, or the Congress-JD(S) coalition that has the magic number. The governor has said a decision will be taken after “seeing all the possibilities”.

Experts said the governor ought to act soon, to thwart attempt at horse-trading. If the governor, a former minister in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat cabinet, calls the BJP, the coalition has decided to move the Supreme Court.

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