Assembly elections

Karnataka results: BJP gets 15 days to prove majority, Congress-JD(S) approach CJI

BS Yeddyurappa will take oath on Thursday morning.

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on Wednesday invited the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the next government. The party’s prospective Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa will take oath at 9 am on Thursday. The BJP has been given 15 days to prove their majority in the House.

The Assembly election results were declared on Tuesday. The BJP won 104 seats, the Congress 78 and the Janata Dal (Secular) 37. The Bahujan Samaj Party won a single seat, and others two.

On Wednesday, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) accused the BJP of trying to poach their MLAs a day after the Assembly elections in the state threw up a hung verdict. They even approached the governor and staked claim to form the government.

10.52 pm: Security has been beefed up outside the CJI’s residence.

10.25 pm: The Congress and JD(S) approach Chief Justice Dipak Misra for an urgent hearing at his residence against the governor’s move. HD Devegowda of JD(S) and state Congress President G Parameswaran are the petitioners in the case.

“We will use all legal and constitutional rights available to us,” Surjewala says. “We will approach the people’s court.”

10.15 pm: BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad claims the Congress has threatened violence if the governor does not invite the party to form the government. He says the Congress ran a divisive and communal campaign, but the saffron party had won the confidence of the people.

HD Kumaraswamy says the governor has encouraged horse-trading by giving Yeddyurappa 15 days to prove majority, ANI reports “This is unconstitutional. We will discuss our future plans,” the Janata Dal (Secular) leader tells media persons.

10.10 pm: The Congress has accused the Karnataka governor of destroying the Constitution and the law by inviting the BJP to form the government. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala says the governor’s move was “illegal and immoral” and would not stand the “scrutiny of the Constitution”.

“The governor has shamed his office. If such power is vested in the governor, the consequences will be horrendous,” Surjewala added in a press conference. He says that when the Congress approached the Supreme Court against the BJP’s move to form a government in Goa despite not being the single largest party after the elections, the top court had ruled in favour of the saffron party.

9.52 pm: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says, “The party that blew up the constitution to shambles is teaching us the constitution, the party that imposed President rule the most number of times is giving us lessons.”

9.48 pm: Governor invites Yeddyurappa to manufacture a majority in 15 days. Governor gives Mr Yeddyurappa 15 days to convert the number 104 into 111, tweets Chidambaram.

9.37 pm: BJP Karnataka in-charge Murlidhar Rao says in a press conference that Yeddyurappa will be sworn in as the chief minister on Thursday. Yeddyurappa will get 15 days to prove his majority on the floor of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, ANI reports.

9.29 pm: BJP tweets again that BS Yeddyurappa will take oath as the chief minister at 9 am on Thursday. The governor’s letter has reached Yeddyurappa, reports NDTV.

9.04 pm: Congress calls the reports of governor inviting BS Yeddyurappa shocking. “Shocking, if true. Will tantamount to murdering democracy, trampling Constitution and disregarding all precedents. Majority will can’t be subjugated at the whims of BJP and Modi govt,” tweets Randeep Surjewala.

9.01 pm: Karnataka BJP deletes the tweet announcing BS Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in as chief minister of Karnataka on Thursday.

8.57 pm: Congress leader Kapil Sibal says the constitutional post of a governor was being misused by the BJP. “Maloom padta hai ye mann ki baat nahi dhan ki baat hai [It is obvious that money is talking here],” he adds.

8.50 pm: Congress MLAs reach a resort near Bengaluru, reports ANI.

8.45 pm: If the Governor invites anyone but Kumaraswamy [to form the government in Karnataka], he is supporting and encouraging poaching [of MLAs], says P Chidambaram.

8.41 pm: Governor holds an exalted constitutional office, he shouldn’t walk on a perilous path which is illegal, he’s bound by the Supreme Court judgment, bound to invite leader of alliance which is presented to him as an alliance that commands maturity of members in legislative Assembly, says P Chidambaram.

8.30 pm: Congress leader P Chidambaram addresses the media. “Congress party and the JD(S) have formed post election alliance in Karnataka,” he says. “The numbers establish that the alliance has a majority in the legislature of Karnataka. Yet, the governor has decided not to invite Kumaraswamy to form the government. We sincerely hope that there would not be another outrage on the Constitution.”

8.28 pm: Kumaraswamy says let the BJP be happy for a few days. “They don’t have the numbers. Let them prove their majority.”

8.06 pm: Governor Vajubhai Vala invites the BJP to form the government, reports Suvarna News. BS Yeddyurappa will be sworn-in as the chief minister at 9.30 am on Thursday. BJP MLA Suresh Kumar tweets that it is a happy moment and a time for celebration. He, later, deleted the tweet.

7.47 pm: Congress leader Ashok Gehlot says the party is compelled to keep its MLAs together because of the horse-trading. “Hotel or wherever we go, MLAs will stay together and discuss things,” he tells ANI.

7.39 pm: BJP sources say Governor Vajubhai Vala may invite BS Yeddyurappa to take oath on Thursday at 12.20 pm. Yeddyurappa is waiting for a fax from Raj Bhavan, reports News18.

7.05 pm: Outgoing Karnataka Assembly Speaker and Congress leader KB Koliwad criticises Siddaramaiah, and says the party has suffered because of his arrogant behaviour.

6.56 pm: The governor has reportedly consulted former attorney generals Soli Sorabjee and Mukul Rohatgi, says TV9.

6.29 pm: BJP MPs Shobha Karandlaje, GM Siddeshwara and PC Mohan write to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, alleging that their phones were being tapped. “We have every reason to believe that the Karnataka government is misusing its power and tapping our mobile phones,” reads their letter, according to ANI. “This is a clear violation of our fundamental right to privacy.”

6.14 pm: Siddaramaiah’s allegations that Modi has allowed horse trading in Karnataka are condemnable, false, irresponsible and baseless, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tells ANI.

5.58 pm: Kumaraswamy says they hope the governor abides by the Constitution and gives the correct direction. “The future course of action will be decided after that. All our candidates are safe, none of them are for sale,” he says, according to NDTV.

5.40 pm: Our decisions have been conveyed to the governor, HD Kumaraswamy tells the media. “We have told him we have 117 MLAs with us and given him the list of signatories,” he says. “As the precedents show, single-party majority has not been considered and post poll alliances have been favoured. Governor said he will consult legal experts and get back to us.”

5.36 pm: The governor has said he will make a decision after looking at precedents in Goa, Meghalaya and Constitutional provisions, KPCC President G Parameshwara tells reporters after meeting the governor.

5.33 pm: Congress MLA Byrathi Basavaraj says all 78 MLAs are with them. “No one has gone to the BJP,” he tells News18. This comes after reports said Congress MLA Nagendra has quit the party.

5.29 pm: Ranibennur MLA R Shankar has reportedly offered his support to the Congress, according to TV9.

5.27 pm: Congress and JD(S) MLAs to meet governor shortly.

5.16 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party’s Shobha Karandlaje alleges that the Congress in Karnataka is misusing law and order and tapping the phones of party leaders. She said the party has written to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha in New Delhi and other top police officials in Karnataka about the matter.

5.02 pm: Congress leader DK Shivakumar denies reports that some of the party’s MLAs were missing, and claims that they were all together, reports Suvarna News.

5.01 pm: The governor is bound to call the Congress-JD(S) combine as they have the numbers, reiterates Siddaramaiah ahead of reaching the Raj Bhavan.

4.51 pm: Kumaraswamy and his JD(S) MLAs reach Raj Bhavan. They are expected to submit a signed document declaring support for the Congress-JD(S) alliance and Kumaraswamy as the chief minister.

4.50 pm: As both the BJP and the Congress-JD(S) combine claim they can form the government, here are the potential scenarios:

  • Governor takes time to consult: The situation is not simple and might require legal consultations, and so the governor might take some time to decide on whom to invite to form government.
  • Governor invites the Congress-JD(S) combine to form government: This scenario would seem the most appropriate and in keeping with the precedent established by governors in the last few years, when in Goa and Manipur, the largest coalition (including the BJP in both of those cases) was invited to form the government, rather than the single largest party (which happened to be Congress in those two states). But the governor, a political appointee and a person who has deep BJP roots, is expected to try whatever is possible to avoid having to do this.
  • Governor invites the BJP to form government: The BJP is the single-largest party, and so there might be cause for the governor to invite it to prove its majority on the floor. This would be breaking with the precedent of the last few years, when the BJP actively argued in court that the governor can call a coalition if it has the numbers and will be stable.

4.46 pm: As the JD(S) and Congress seek to form a government, all eyes are on the governor. Vajubhai Vala, who became Karnataka governor in September 2014, vacated his Rajkot-II seat in 2001, when Narendra Modi contested the Assembly elections for the first time. A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker, he was first fielded by the BJP from the constituency in the 1985 Assembly elections. He went on to win from the seat seven times.

Vala was also the finance minister for nine years during Modi’s term as the chief minister of Gujarat. From 2005 to 2006, he also led the party unit in Karnataka. Vala is a man of principles, according to his family physician Batuk Parsana.

4.40 pm: “We have the numbers to form a stable government,” Kumaraswamy tells reporters meeting before Governor Vajubhai Vala. JD(S) and Congress are expected to meet Vala at 5 pm.

4.38 pm: Heavy deployment of security forces outside Raj Bhavan, say reports.

4.30 pm: BJP leader Muralidhar Rao says, “We do not see the need of parading our MLAs. We are ready to prove the majority. We are waiting for the decision of the governor. We do not know what allegation Congress is making against the party,” reports News18.

4.14 pm: Bus waits outside the Karnataka Congress office to take party MLAs to a resort, say reports. However, NDTV reports that the bus will take the leaders to the Raj Bhavan. They will reportedly be paraded before being taken to a resort.

3.48 pm: JD(S) and Congress leaders will meet Governor Vajubhai Vala at 5 pm, reports ANI.

3.13 pm: Congress and JD(S) leaders will sit on a hunger strike if the governor does not invite them to form a government, reports local TV channel Suvarna News.

3.04 pm: “The Congress Legislature Party has passed a resolution to support the JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy unanimously. We are seeking the appointment from the Governor to hand over letters – one from the Congress and one from the JD(S),” says Ghulam Nabi Azad. “We have not received any message from the Raj Bhawan about any appointment. We are waiting for the same.”

3.01 pm: Both Congress and JD(S) are eagerly waiting for the governor to call Kumaraswamy to form the government, says Ghulam Nabi Azad. He adds that the BJP’s alleged act of trying to steal MLAs should not be encouraged. “Should any governor allow plunder, loot and stealing in daylight,” he asks. “No governor can go against the Constitution.”

2.54 pm: The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) will meet Governor Vajubhai Vala at 4 pm with the signatures of their MLAs in support of HD Kumaraswamy, reports News18.

2.31 pm: “BJP is doing unconstitutional things. I will not allow BJP to form government. The governor should give us and JD(S) the opportunity,” outgoing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tells NDTV. “The horsetrading by BJP is unacceptable.”

2.18 pm: Congress leaders deny reports that some of their elected members are missing. “All the MLAs are intact. Some of the MLAs came late because they came in a special flight from Bidar,” Karnataka Congress chief G Parameshwara tells ANI.

2.08 pm: Congress leader DK Shivakumar reiterates that his party’s alliance with the JD(S) has the numbers and so the governor has to call them first to form the government. The governor will not do anything wrong, he says, adding “Injustice should not be done from the seat of justice.” He also denies reports that he had sought the post of deputy chief minister.

2.04 pm: Former Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi says, “The governor is obliged to call the largest party, which is the BJP. He should call BJP leader asking him if he can form government. If he says he can’t, governor will then call second party and if he says he can form government, governor should give him time to prove majority.”

1.59 pm: Meanwhile, the Congress continues to accuse the BJP of horse-trading.

1.51 pm: Union minister Javadekar denies Kumaraswamy’s allegation that BJP tried to buy elected JD(S) members for Rs 100 crore. “Rs 100 crore figure is imaginary. We are not indulging in horse-trading of any kind...That is what Congress and JD(S) are famous for,” he says, adding that the charges are baseless.

1.50 pm: Indian benchmark indices dropped the most in a month after opening for trade on Wednesday as the political situation in Karnataka remained uncertain. The BSE Sensex is trading 39.31 points lower at 35,504.63, while the NSE Nifty index was down 22.65 points at 10,779.20.

1.47 pm: Governor Vala will invite Yeddyurappa after 2 pm to form the government, say reports.

1.46 pm: The political drama following the verdict in the Karnataka Assembly election results grabbed headlines in the major national and regional newspapers on Wednesday. From “Results are in, jury is out” to “Kar-nataka” and “Drama’s just begun”, the newspapers analysed the role of Governor Vajubhai Vala and other major players in the state.

1.41 pm: On being asked about allegations of horse-trading, Congress MLA TD Rajegowda says leaders from BJP are continuing to call him and other party colleagues. “I am a committed Congress person.They have been doing this from long time. This is their job,” says Rajegowda.

1.35 pm: “Many legislators are unhappy with the Congress-JD(S) alliance,” Union minister Prakash Javadekar said earlier today, reports News18. “We will form the government in a democratic way. People want BJP government and we will make it. Anyone can create unnatural tensions, but people of Karnataka are with us.”

He called the post-poll alliance unethical. “This attempt by the Congress to make a backdoor entry is not appreciated,” he said. “Bitter enemies coming together for their convenience is unethical.”

1.13 pm: The Congress is expected to move the Supreme Court if Governor Vajubhai Vala calls the BJP first to form the government, reports said, citing sources. The petition will be filed on Wednesday night if the JD(S)-Congress combine is not called, NDTV reported. Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi will reportedly lead the party’s case in the top court.

12.55 pm: The JD(S) and Congress state president G Parameshwara will meet the governor again on Wednesday afternoon, says Kumaraswamy. He reiterates that the Congress has offered his party unconditional support.

12.53 pm: The JD(S) leader says it is the governor’s prerogative to invite the BJP first, but refuses to disclose what his party’s course of action will be.

12.50 pm: Answering questions about Yeddyurappa claiming he will take oath as the chief minister soon, the JD(S) leader says, “Yeddyurappa had fixed his oath taking day on the day he filed nomination papers. So it is not new that he says he will take oath soon.”

12.46 pm: On being questioned about securing elected members at resorts, Kumaraswamy says, “At this time, it is not necessary to take them. If BJP leaders start horse trading, then I have to protect the interests of my party and my MLAs.”

12.41 pm: Kumaraswamy confirms that he has been offered the chief ministerial seat by the BJP too. “But the question is about countering the casteist and religious politics happening in the country,” he says.

He adds that it is not a question of him or his father, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, wanting power, but is a question of forming a stable government.

12.38 pm: Kumaraswamy warned the BJP that if it tried to poach MLAs from the JD(S) and Congress again by offering ministerial positions or money, it will backfire. “There are at least 15 MLAs waiting to come out of BJP. If you try to poach our MLAs, we will be ready to make even more BJP MLAs switch sides,” he says.

12.28 pm: Kumaraswamy accuses the BJP of horse-trading and questions if the central government and the governor will support it. “If Modi is out to end corruption, then how do you explain the BJP coming to our MLAs and saying they will pay us 100 crores and give a Cabinet seat,” he asks. “Will this money be in black or white? Where are the Income Tax officials?”

He adds: “In this country’s history, this is the first time that a central government is misusing central agencies.”

“How can the BJP, with nine members lacking, form a government,” he asks. Pointing out the precedents that were set in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya, where the Congress could not form government despite being the largest party, he asks how the Bharatiya Janata Party can behave differently in Karnataka. “How much are they protecting democracy?”

12.24 pm: Kumaraswamy says Congress MLAs have come together and submitted a letter to the governor that they are supporting the JD(S). “Please do not be mistaken that my party or I are after power or the chief ministerial seat,” he says. “This is a rotten circumstance in which I could become a CM.”

12.23 pm: He accuses the prime minister of misusing his power. “Look at what the prime minister is doing, by trying to break a post-poll alliance,” Kumaraswamy says. “He is misusing his power.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party is desperate to grab power, he adds. “The BJP wanted to finish the JD(S). I thank the Congress for supporting us. The decision to become CM is not thirst for power. People are wrong if they think this,” says Kumaraswamy.

12.18 pm: “This result is not something that gave us too much happiness. Somewhere in my heart, I feel I should accept people’s verdict,” says Kumaraswamy. “We can’t blame the people of Karnataka for the Hung Assembly. The 104 seats that the BJP got is not for their work. They got it due to division of secular votes.”

12.11 pm: The president of the Maharashtra unit of Nationalist Congress Party, Jayant Patil, says he is surprised by the Karnataka verdict. “Even the common man and farmers were satisfied with the government. The Congress was doing well there,” PTI quotes him as saying. “But it is really a surprise to see such an outcome.”

Paper ballots must be used in future elections instead of the Electronic Voting Machines to prevent such surprises, he claims.

12.05 pm: The Janata Dal (Secular) chooses HD Kumaraswamy as the legislative party leader at a meeting in Bengaluru.

12 pm: Author Chetan Bhagat claims “horse-trading” is an art form.

11.58 am: HD Kumaraswamy said, “We have already decided to go with Congress. There is no question of taking any other decision,” before the Janata Dal (Secular) Legislature Party meeting, reports ANI.

11.51 am: JD(S) leader A Manjunath says the party leaders will not be influenced by anyone. “HD Kumaraswamy will be the CM and there will be a coalition govt. That is the only truth.”

11.48 am: Yeddyurappa says he has given the letter electing him the House leader to the governor and asked him to let BJP form the government. Governor Vajubhai Vala has told him that he will take an appropriate decision, the BJP leader claimed.

11.44 am: BS Yeddyurappa reaches Karnataka governor’s residence. He has been elected the House leader at BJP’s Legislature Party meeting in Bengaluru.

11.40 am: Congress MLA NA Haris accuses the BJP of doing “bad politics”, ANI reports. “We don’t have to stoop down to their level. We are 118 in number, we don’t want anyone,” he says. “We have to protect the verdict of the people.”

11.38 am: BJP MLA Sreeramulu says the post-poll alliance between the Congress and the JD(S) is wrong. “What they did was wrong. They did not have any of these arrangements before the elections,” he says, according to NDTV.

11.33 am: JD(S) leader Danish Ali says Congress and his party have the numbers, and that the governor should discharge his constitutional duties and invite HD Kumaraswamy to form the government. “If BJP puts pressure on the governor, it will be the death of democracy,” he says.

11.32 am: JD(S) MLAs Raja Venkatappa Nayaka and Venkata Rao Nadagouda are missing from the legislative party meeting, reports ANI.

11.30 am: Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad says the governor cannot take sides and must call the Congress-JD(S) alliance to form government as the single largest party, the BJP, does not have the alliance.

11.28 am: Congress leader MB Patil says all party MLAs are together. “In fact, there are six BJP people who are in touch with us,” he claims, adding that they may switch sides.

11.25 am: BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa has been elected the Legislature Party leader, News18 reports.

11.10 am: All three major parties – the BJP, Congress and JD(S) – are currently holding their respective legislative party meetings in Bengaluru.

11.07 am: Congress MLA DK Shivakumar confirms that there is a plan to safeguard their MLAs. “We will be having a meeting soon to discuss future course of action,” Shivakumar tells News18. “It won’t be easy to form the government. There is a plan to move our MLAs to a resort.”

11.06 am: BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai claims the party is currently not approaching any individuals. “Political scenario will unfold in the next two to three days,” he tells ANI.

11.05 am: JD(S) and Congress leaders, however, claim they have faith in their MLAs and know that they are loyal to the party.

11 am: Congress MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao says BJP is indulging in horse-trading. “These devious plans, this kind of horse-trading is not what the people of Karnataka want,” he says, adding that if the JD(S) and BJP had formed an alliance, the Congress would have taken the position of the Opposition without causing trouble.

“The people have not given you [BJP] a mandate,” he says. “You have not got a majority. In a democracy, numbers are final. Whoever has the numbers will form the government.”

10.55 am: Congress leader Amaregouda Linganagouda Patil Bayyapur says some leaders from the BJP called him. “They said come to us and we will give a ministry to you. We will make you a minister,” he tells ANI. “But, I’m going to stay here. HD Kumaraswamy is our chief minister.”

Three other Congress MLAs also allege that BJP approached them to switch sides, according to News18.

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