BENGALURU: Leaders from the Congress and the JDS went into a huddle in Bengaluru on Tuesday night, just hours after the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018 results gave them an opportunity to deliver a broken nose to the BJP. The BJP emerged as the single largest party but had fallen short of the simple majority, and the Congress and JDS together have enough seats to be able to form the next government. But this seems a few steps away from a done deal.
JDS leaders HD Deve Gowda and Chief Minister-hopeful HD Kumaraswamy reached a prominent hotel close to central Bengaluru for talks with a host of state and high command Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar.
Reports suggested the exchanges between the two parties could be happening at more than one hotel in the area.
It is unclear what the terms of the discussion between the two parties were focussed on. However, earlier reports suggested that at least 10 Congress MLA-elects, particularly Lingayats, were unhappy with the Congress decision to back Kumaraswamy, a Vokkaliga. If these MLA-elects jump ship, it would put the ball squarely in the BJP's court.
Results were declared on Tuesday for the 222 seats for which polls were held on May 12. The elections in two seats were postponed, in one case because of the death of a contestant and in another because of the discovery of thousands of voter IDs in an apartment. The BJP won 104 seats, the Congress 78, JDS 37. Three seats were won by the BSP, the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party and an independent.
Soon after the trends suggested that the BJP may not be headed for a simple majority, the Congress had offered outside support to a JDS government. The JDS had accepted the offer.
However, reports through the day, voiced concerns from JDS leaders, mostly at a low voltage, over the wisdom in forming a government with just 16.5 percent of the strength of the Assembly. These leaders said they felt such an arrangement left too much leverage in the hands of the Congress.
The decision on which side to call to form the government - the BJP or the post-poll Cogress-JDS combine - now rests on the desk of Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala.