NEW DELHI: It must be a deja-vu moment for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 1996, the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to resign in just a matter of 13 days as he was not able to prove majority in the Lok Sabha. In 2018, BS Yeddyurappa resigned just two days after he was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka.
The BJP had emerged as the single-largest party in Karnataka in the 2018 assembly elections. With the support of 104 MLAs, the BJP staked claim to form the government. But the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular (JDS) had a different gameplan. Adamant on doing everything to keep the BJP at bay, the Congress and the JDS formed a post-poll alliance and showed the combined strength to form a government. Despite the numbers not being on the BJP's side, Governor Vajubhai Vala invited BJP as the single largest party to prove the majority and Yeddyurappa was sworn in as the Chief Minister on Thursday.
The BJP tried its best to get the numbers but the Congress and JDS kept its MLAs close to its chest. Despite all its efforts, the BJP was on Saturday forced to pull the plug as it was unable to show enough numbers on its side. An emotional Yeddyurappa announced his resignation on the floor of the House and lamented how just a few more seats could have changed the equation and made the BJP the party with the majority in the state. The two-day CM before resigning vowed to work for the people of the state.
Yeddyurappa's emotional speech on Saturday had a glimpse of what Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said in 1996 when he had to resign as the PM in just 13 days.
Vajpayee was the first person from the BJP to have become the prime minister of India. In the 1996 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had emerged as the single-largest party. Congress had won 140 seats while BJP had 161 in its kitty. Vajpayee was thus sworn in as the 10th PM of India.
The BSP had promised support to Vajpayee but minutes later in the House, Mayawati rose to speak and said that she would be opposing the government. The numbers went against the government and Congress extended its support to the third largest party Janata Dal led by HD Deve Gowda. Vajpayee was left with no choice but to submit his resignation to the President.
In a stirring speech then, he had said: "The seats we won are not by a stroke of luck. We reached out to the people and worked hard to spread our message. And today we are suddenly being judged because we couldn't get just a few more seats? Ok, I agree that was a little bit of our own weakness."
"President gave us the opportunity (to form government) and we took that opportunity. We could not succeed but that is a different matter. But we will still sit here as the largest opposition party and you will have to take our support to make this House work. Don't ever forget that. And I assure you, we will support you in running the House properly. We assure you that while you want power, we want to work for this country and we will never sit and rest in this endeavour," he had said in that famous speech.