Cong, JD(S) may shift MLAS to Ker­ala

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - HTNATION - Vikram Gopal

BENGALURU: The Congress and the Janata Dal (Sec­u­lar) are likely to shift their newly elected Kar­nataka leg­is­la­tors to Ker­ala to pre­empt any at­tempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to poach the MLAS, se­nior Congress leader Satish Jark­i­holi said on Thurs­day.

While the BJP’S BS Yed­dyu­rappa was sworn in as Kar­nataka chief min­is­ter ear­lier in the day, the BJP does not com­mand a sim­ple ma­jor­ity in the state assem­bly, with the May 12 elec­tions throw­ing up a hung house. The BJP, the sin­gle largest party, has 104 out of 222 seats (elec­tions to two seats were de­ferred) — eight short of the ma­jor­ity mark of 112. The chief min­is­ter has been given 15 days to prove on the floor of the House that he has the ad­e­quate num­bers to run a gov­ern­ment.

The Congress, which has 78 MLAS, and the JD(S), which has 38, and who have joined hands in a post-poll al­liance, to­gether have a ma­jor­ity in the assem­bly with 116 leg­is­la­tors be­tween them.

Jark­i­holi said all op­tions to chal­lenge gov­er­nor Va­jub­hai Vala’s de­ci­sion of invit­ing the BJP to form the gov­ern­ment de­spite not hav­ing the req­ui­site num­bers were be­ing looked at. “We will move to Ker­ala be­cause the Com­mu­nist Party of In­dia (Marx­ist) is gov­ern­ing there and is un­likely to be swayed by the BJP,” he told HT. Whom to in­vite to form a gov­ern­ment is left to the dis­cre­tion of the Gov­er­nor, and there is prece­dent for both — first invit­ing the sin­gle-largest party and the post-poll al­liance that ap­pears to com­mand a ma­jor­ity. Con­tro­versy of­ten brews in a hung assem­bly no mat­ter whom the Gov­er­nor chooses.

In what is the lat­est ex­am­ple of “re­sort pol­i­tics” that of­ten fol­lows hung as­sem­blies in In­dia, the Congress-jd(s) fac­tion had an in­vi­ta­tion from Andhra Pradesh, where the Tel­ugu De­sam Party re­cently broke away from the Bjp-led Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance (NDA). Jark­i­holi said the al­liance’s lead­ers also ruled out Tamil Nadu be­cause the All In­dia Anna Dravida Mun­netra Kazhagam (AIADMK) that rules the state was seen as close to the BJP’S cen­tral lead­er­ship.

The Congress MLAS are cur­rently stay­ing at the Ea­gle­ton Golf Re­sort, which is owned by Congress leader and for­mer state min­is­ter DK Shivaku­mar. JD(S) MLAS are stay­ing at the Shangri-la Ho­tel in Bengaluru city.

On Thurs­day, the state Congress work­ing pres­i­dent Di­nesh Gundu Rao de­scribed the Gov­er­nor’s de­ci­sion as “con­demnable”. “At present, we have the sup­port of 77 of our MLAS and two in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates, apart from the 38 MLAS in JD(S). Anand Singh, the MLA from Vi­jayana­gara, said he was un­well and couldn’t turn up, but we be­lieve he will join us shortly,” he added.

Peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the de­vel­op­ments, how­ever, said Singh, a for­mer BJP man known to be close to the Reddy min­ing barons of Bal­lari, had likely switched to his old party. Singh could not be reached for com­ment.

CS Put­taraju, the JD(S) MLA from Melukote in Mandya, said the fi­nal call on mov­ing to Ker­ala was yet to be taken be­cause of a Supreme Court hear­ing on Fri­day. “As of now, there is an­other line of think­ing that we should wait for the SC hear­ing be­fore de­cid­ing our fu­ture course of ac­tion,” he said.

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