Bengaluru: The verdict for the Karnataka Assembly has turned out to be a cliff-hanger T-20 cricket match heading down to the wire. But unlike in T-20s, where the umpire can refer a rather difficult case to the third umpire, Governor Vajabhai Rudabhai Vala has no such option; unless of course one considers Amit Shah or the BJP high command to be the ‘hidden third umpire.’
After a bitter political battle for 222 seats in the Karnataka Assembly (one was countermanded due to the death of a candidate and the other postponed due to some irregularities), foes turned pals overnight, proving once again the adage that politics makes strange bedfellows. The saying is a take-off on a line in the play ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare: “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.” In Karnataka, the misery of both the Congress and the JD(S) seems to be an overbearing BJP.
Both the BJP and the Congress-JD(S) combine have met the Governor and staked claim to form the next government. The final result is likely to read as BJP 104, Congress 78, JD(S) 38 and others 2. Both the independents have decided to sail with the Congress. Thus, the post-poll alliance of the JD(S) combine will have 118 MLAs. In fact, the two parties on Tuesday took 118 MLA-elect to the Raj Bhavan to prove the point.
The Congress and the JD(S) put up a show of unity when chief minister Siddaramaiah and his bitter one-time enemy H D Kumaraswamy met the Governor and staked claim.
As per norms established by the Supreme Court in the S R Bommai judgment, the Governor cannot decide on who has the majority. That has to be decided on the floor of the House. But the Governor has to invite the largest single party to form the government, in this case the BJP. If the BJP fails to secure a majority on the floor of the House, the Governor can invite the next single party or a coalition to prove its majority on the floor of the House.
The BJP has sought seven days’ time to prove its majority which the Governor can officially grant. This time will be ‘productively’ used to crack the JD(S) and the Congress. The BJP is sharpening its plan.