Bengaluru: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka is in a dilemma — whether to stake claim to form the government under the leadership of state party chief B.S. Yeddyurappa or demand President’s Rule, which will mean holding fresh elections within six months.
The BJP hopes to win the elections and come back with a huge mandate rather than form a government that balances on a wafer-thin majority.
Speaking to ThePrint, BJP national general secretary Muralidhar Rao said the decision on who would be the chief minister would be taken by the party’s Parliamentary Board and there’s no controversy over it.
“But given the context of the recent developments, which involve a case pending in the Supreme Court as well as the Karnataka Speaker’s decision on the MLAs (who have resigned), we are trying to understand the implications before formulating our strategy,” he said.
‘We want to weigh all our options’
Yeddyurappa’s strategic planning and execution to bring down the H.D. Kumaraswamy government has worked well in favour of the BJP. The party cadres, too, have been rejoicing over achieving another milestone towards their ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ agenda.
Yeddyurappa is, however, still waiting for Governor Vajubhai Vala to invite him to form the government.
Asked if the party is contemplating President’s Rule, Rao said the idea is “stretched too far”.
“Yesterday’s majority is a reduced majority. That decision is to be understood well. We want to provide a stable government. Before that, we want to weigh all our options and come to a conclusion,” he added.
The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government Tuesday lost the trust vote 99 to 105 after four days of debate in the Assembly and over two weeks of drama following resignation of 15 MLAs.
Yeddyurappa’s scheduled visit to Delhi to meet the BJP’s central leaders Wednesday was cancelled at the last minute as the decision from the high command is still pending.
He was, however, seen meeting RSS leaders in Bengaluru in the morning.
“The RSS has always supported me and before taking any further step, I came to seek the blessings of the senior leaders of the Sangh Parivar. I am awaiting instructions from Delhi. At any point, we can call the legislature party meeting and head to Raj Bhavan,” he told mediapersons outside Keshav Krupa, the RSS’ Karnataka headquarters.
BJP fears reverse poaching of MLAs
A senior state BJP functionary said the central party leadership has watched the entire drama unfold in Karnataka. The central leaders did not oppose Yeddyurappa’s move to weaken the ruling coalition.
One of the biggest challenges that the Karnataka BJP now faces is that despite defeating Kumaraswamy government in the trust vote, they still have a wafer-thin majority. The fear among the party cadres is that any reverse poaching of a few rebels either by the Congress or the JD(S) could tilt the scales against the BJP any time.
Also, the fate of the 15 MLAs is yet to be decided, and the BJP will be in a fix if they are unable to accommodate them.
The resignations of these rebel legislators are pending with Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar and his decision on whether to accept their resignations would matter to the BJP.
If their resignations are accepted, they will have to go for bypolls, and the BJP is unsure of how many of them would actually win back their seats even on a BJP ticket.
Political analyst Ramakrishna Upadhya says the BJP also has the option of moving a no-confidence motion against the Speaker.
“If they have the numbers, they may seek removal of Ramesh Kumar and put their own candidate in his place. Then there is a possibility that Kumar may take a decision before that. If the decision is against the rebel MLAs, they can take the legal route and go to the SC and say that the whip is not applicable to them and they have resigned and it was the Speaker who delayed his decision,” he told ThePrint.
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