The (much-prolonged) political tug-of-war in Karnataka — the Assembly drama last four days — reached some measure of closure on Tuesday after chief minister HD Kumaraswamy lost the trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly. While Opposition leader BS Yeddyurappa and other BJP leaders flashed broad smiles and victory symbols on Tuesday in the Assembly, they still have some way to go before the saffron party gets back in the saddle in the southern state.
For now, Yeddyurappa has said that he is "awaiting instructions" from his party's central leadership on staking claim to form an alternative government in the state.
What next for BJP
Kumaraswamy is presently the caretaker chief minister of Karnataka, as requested by Governor Vajubhai Vala after the JD(S) leader submitted his resignation. However. Yeddyurappa is likely to be back as the chief minister, after having held the post for merely 56 hours in May 2018 immediately after the results of the Assembly election. NDTV quoted BJP leaders as saying that the party's lawmakers will elect him as their leader, which will be a formal step towards him becoming the chief minister.
For this, he will have to cross the halfway mark in the Assembly, which is 105. Presently, the BJP has 105 MLAs in the Assembly, and claims to have the support of two Independents. Further, it will hope to secure the support of the 15 rebel MLAs (13 of whom are presently camping in a Mumbai hotel) from the Congress and JD(S).
The 15 MLAs have sought four weeks' time to appear before Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar in connection with the plea for their disqualification from the State Assembly. In their letter, they have said that a petition has been filed under Schedule 10 of the Constitution by the Congress, seeking their disqualification.
Citing the case of Balchandra L Jarkiholi versus BS Yeddyurappa in 2011, they requested the Speaker to grant them four weeks' time.
While a BJP legislature party meeting was slated to be held on Wednesday, it was not held as the party leaders are awaiting instructions from the top brass on the choice of the chief minister.
BJP sources said the party will be more sure of its next move after Speaker Ramesh Kumar takes a decision or the Supreme Court, which is also hearing a case related to the matter, brings a legal closure to the issue.
There is also a view that the BJP should go for fresh assembly polls in the state, seeking a clear majority but many leaders feel that the party should go ahead and stake claim for forming the government.
What next for Congress, JD(S)
The defeat in the trust vote has cast doubts on whether the Congress-JD(S) alliance will continue. The alliance had been a strained one, and prior to the Assembly election, the two parties had in fact bitterly opposed each other during the campaign. According to News18, during the recent political crisis, Congress leader Siddaramaiah was not eager to save the government, and was forced by the party high command to play a lead role till the last minute.
The News18 article also argues that while leaving the alliance with the JD(S) may help the Congress in the next Assembly elections, it will presently have to struggle to keep the flock together.
Indeed, as an article by Srinivasa Prasad points out, "The only thing that's pretty certain now is that the Congress and JD(S) will soon wash their dirty laundry in public more openly than they have been doing so far."
Meanwhile, after the fall of the Kumaraswamy-led government, Siddaramaiah issued a strongly-worded statement on Twitter, saying, "I would like to reaffirm that those who have fallen for Operation Kamala will never be inducted back to our party...Even if the sky is falling down!"
As 15 MLAs had earlier resigned from the Karnataka Assembly, bypolls will have to be held soon. The Congress and JD(S) will pin their hopes on the results of the bypolls. If the two parties do well, they may attempt to destabilise the BJP-led government.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jul 24, 2019 23:06:35 IST