BJP, which had emerged as single-largest party in Karnataka, believes it was robbed of its rightful mandate by Congress and JD(S).
New Delhi: Resort politics is back in the news: The BJP has huddled together its 104 Karnataka legislators at a hotel in Manesar, Gurugram. This follows the ruling JD(S) and the Congress accusing the BJP of indulging in horse-trading.
Genesis of current crisis
Last May, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the assembly polls with 104 seats in a 224-member House. However, the Congress prevented it from forming the government by offering the post of chief minister to JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy.
The BJP has been smarting ever since. It is allegedly trying to engineer defections in the ruling camp, comprising 80 Congress legislators and 37 from the JD(S). A BSP MLA and two Independents also supported the coalition.
On Wednesday, the two Independents announced the withdrawal of their support to the government — they are expected to go with the BJP.
But to slide into a majority, the BJP needs the resignation of at least 13 Congress-JD(S) MLAs, which will then bring the House down to 211 members. In this scenario, with the help of the two Independents, the BJP tally will be up to 106 — the magic number required to form a government.
It is with this objective in mind that the BJP is allegedly trying to persuade the ruling camp’s legislators to resign from the assembly and to contest on the BJP symbol. This strategy will not attract the anti-defection law.
Sources said seven Congress legislators who were “unhappy” with the Kumaraswamy government might agree to resign. However, that may not be enough for the BJP to form a government.
State BJP chief and former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has assured the party high command that he would be able to swing a favourable result.
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What does the BJP gain?
Party leaders deny that toppling the Karnataka government would send out the wrong signal ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. They argue that the BJP had emerged as the single-largest party in Karnataka but the Congress and the JD(S) robbed it of its rightful mandate.
The BJP’s central leadership has distanced itself from the ongoing developments, so that it can deny any role in the matter if it fails. Some BJP leaders also believe that faced with the prospect of instability, Kumaraswamy might, at some point, consider allying with the BJP on the same terms and conditions as he did with the Congress. Congress sources, however, say the alliance remains strong.
Can the Karnataka government collapse?
It looks unlikely, as of today. First, the BJP does not seem to be in a position to get enough Congress-JD(S) MLAs to resign in order to reduce the assembly strength to a level where the BJP has a majority.
Second, if the Congress claims, that there could be defections from the BJP camp, are true, the saffron party’s plan would collapse, leaving it embarrassed.
The BJP may still try to force fresh elections by reducing the government to a minority in the assembly, but its legislators are reluctant to face the electorate, again, within a year.
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