Janata Dal (Secular) leader H. D. Kumaraswamy on Wednesday accused the BJP of being in a “hurry” to form the government in Karnataka despite falling short of numbers, and resorting to “horse-trading” by trying to lure his party MLAs with money.
Speaking to reporters after his election as leader of the JD(S) Legislature Party, he alleged that BJP was making attempts to lure his party MLAs with monetary offers.
All eyes are on Karnataka after the Assembly election results 2018 threw up a hung assembly on Tuesday – with the BJP scoring 104 seats, Congress 78 and JD(S) winning 37 seats.
In a dramatic turn of events, the Congress offered support to the JD(S), which was duly accepted by the party chief H.D. Kumaraswamy.
The BJP, meanwhile, has also staked claim to form the government, even though it is eight seats short of the majority.
Here are the live updates:
Congress-JD(S) MLAs meet Governor
MLAs from the Congress and JD(S) met the Governor of Karnataka at around 5 p.m. on Wednesday. KPCC President G. Parameshwara, who met the Governor along with JD(S) chief H. D. Kumaraswamy, said letters with signature of 117 MLAs were submitted to the Governor.
"The Governor has promised that he will get back to us after seeking legal opinion on the matter," he said.
When asked if all the MLAs are with the parties both Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Parameshwara said, "they were intact."
‘Governor’s decision after gazette notification’
Election Commission sources say that the gazette notification on the conclusion of poll process is likely to be submitted to the Governor’s office in a couple of hours. The Governor is expected to take a call on inviting which group to form government after receiving the notification.
Governor’s office being misused: CPI (M)
In a statement, the Left party alleged that the constitutional office of the Governor was being misused in the southern state.
“The politburo of the CPI(M) strongly opposes the time given to the BJP to indulge in naked horse-trading and the use of money power to muster a majority in the Karnataka Assembly.
Siddaramaiah accuses Modi of encouraging horse-trading
Mr. Siddaramaiah has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of encouraging horse-trading to lure Congress and JD(S) legislators to their party for forming the government.
“Modi and Shah are supporting BJP leaders in horse-trading to poach legislators of our party and the Janata Dal (Secular) to prevent us from forming the next government in the state,” IANS quoted Mr. Siddaramaiah as saying in Bengaluru.
Asserting that the party would not allow the BJP to form a government in the state at any cost, Mr. Siddaramaiah said none of the Congress legislators were missing or likely to defect to the BJP. “We have a plan to safeguard our MLAs, who are together and will not join the BJP, which has 8 less seats for the 112-halfway mark and prove majority,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.
“We have extended our support to the JD(S) to form the new government, with its State leader H.D. Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister. As we have the numbers (118), Governor Vajubhai R. Vala should call our alliance first than the BJP, which does not have the required numbers,” Mr. Siddaramaiah pointed out.
The Congress and the JD(S) will parade their MLAs before the Governor at 5 p.m. JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy has left the Shangri-La Hotel for the Raj Bhavan. A bus has been kept ready near the KPCC office to take the MLAs to Raj Bhavan.
JD(S) MLAs have already reached the Raj Bhavan for their “parade” before Governor Vajubhai Vala. The Congress legislators are expected to reach the Raj Bhavan soon.
02: 00 p.m.
Javadekar terms Kumaraswamy’s claim “imaginary”
Union Mininister Prakash Javadekar dismissed Mr. Kumaraswamy’s charge that BJP was offering ₹100 crore to lure its MLAs, calling it “imaginary.”
Meanwhile, outgoing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of encouraging horse-trading. “We have 117 MLAs. Governor has to give the opportunity to us (JD(S)-Congress combine) to form the government,” he said.
12: 30 p.m
‘BJP offered our MLAs ₹100 crore’
Mr. Kumaraswamy accused the BJP of offering ₹100 crore to some of its party members.
Speaking at the Janata Dal Legislative Party meeting, Mr. Kumaraswamy warned the BJP that if it tried ‘Operation Lotus’ once more it would backfire.
“If the BJP indulges in horse trading I will not sit quiet. I am not a Sanyasi to keep quiet and watch the proceedings,” he said. “I would like to tell the Governor that he should not allow horse trading.”
He said the Congress-JD(S) combine had a “clear majority” with the support of 116 MLAs.
“Without the numbers, how can they (BJP) form the government?” he asked.
Mr. Kumaraswamy downplayed the criticism by the Congress in the run-up to the polls. “It is natural in politics. Wasn’t Yeddyurappa once a bitter critic of the BJP… and now its CM candidate?”
What is Operation Lotus?
This was the BJP’s political manoeuvre in 2008 when, short of majority, it poached at least 6 JD(S) and Congress MLAs by making them resign from the assembly membership and later contest on the BJP ticket.
12: 20 p.m
Kumaraswamy elected as Legislature Party leader
Mr. Kumaraswamy was elected as the leader of the Legislature Party at a Janata Dal (Secular) party meeting on Wednesday.
Until Tuesday morning, Mr. Kumaraswamy, State president of the JD(S), was identified as the “kingmaker”, who would ally with either national party in case of an unclear verdict in the elections. By evening, with a fractured mandate, he was transformed to become a “possible king” in a day of swift developments.
Read more about him here.
12: 15 p.m.
BJP reaches out to JD(S)
BJP has reached out to JD(S) asking for their support, according to sources.
Union Ministers Prakash Javdekar, J.P. Nadda and Dharmendra Pradhan met H.D. Kumaraswamy at a private hotel in the city and sought JD(S) support to BJP, sources confirmed.
BJP sources claimed that Mr. Kumaraswamy said all decisions were taken by his father H D Devegowda and asked them to speak to him. However, some JD(S) sources said Mr. Kumaraswamy has rejected the BJP’s proposal.
12: 10 p.m.
Who is the Governor of Karnataka?
Known for his rustic humour and amiable nature, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala is a disciplined BJP leader and was one of the tallest leaders of the party in Gujarat before he was sent on the gubernatorial assignment.
Mr. Vala was the longest serving Finance Minister of Gujarat apart from holding other crucial portfolios like revenue, energy and transport from 1998 to 2012.
Yeddyurappa meets Karnataka Governor
BJP leader B.S Yeddyurappa met the Governor of Karnataka Vajubhai Vala and submitted a formal letter with the signature of 104 MLAs supporting him. He staked claim to form the government as the leader of the single largest party in the Assembly.
Soon after he was elected leader of the BJP legislature party, Mr. Yeddyurappa drove to the Raj Bhavan and handed the Governor a letter about his unanimous election to the post.
Mr. Yeddyurappa said he requested the Governor to allow him to take oath as chief minister as early as possible.
The Governor, he said, had assured him that he would take an “appropriate” decision as early as possible.
“We are 100 per cent confident that he will take a decision immediately,” Mr. Yeddyurappa told reporters.