Congress-Janata Dal(S) enter alliance to keep BJP out of power

B S Yeddyurappa, the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, has met Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhawan in Bengaluru to stake claim to form government. Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy is now meeting the governor.

“Just now we met governor because we are single largest party, and that he allows us to prove majority in the assembly,” Yeddyurappa said after the meeting.

Kumaraswamy had written to the governor earlier today saying he accepts the Congress’s offer of support with him as chief minister after the BJP emerged as the largest party but fell short of a majority in the counting of votes.

At 5pm, the BJP was leading in 104 seats. The Congress was ahead in 78 seats and the JD(S) in 37, together crossing the majority mark at 112 in leads, Election Commission data showed.

As the election trends showed no party will get a clear majority, the Congress made its offer to the JD (S). “We had a telephonic conversation with Deve Gowda ji and Kumaraswamy. They have accepted our offer. Hopefully, we will be together,” said senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. The party has rushed senior leader Ahmed Patel as a “special emissary” to oversee the process.

Yeddyurappa, in a press conference, rejected the Congress’s move as a power grab. “The people have rejected the Congress and accepted the BJP. People are moving towards Congress-mukt Karnataka,” he said. “Trying to grab power despite being rejected,” adding, “the Congress is trying to come to power through back door, people will not tolerate this.”

The BJP has reportedly rushed central leaders to Bengaluru to ensure the party is able to form government.

The Karnataka election is seen as the first major battle that sets the tone for the 2019 Lok Sabha. Up next this year are big contests in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Karnataka is the last big state where the Congress now holds power apart from Punjab. Prime Minister Narendra Modi taunted the party during a bitter campaign, predicting that the Congress will be reduced today to the PPP party – Punjab, Puducherry and Parivar, the last a reference to the party’s first family the Gandhis.

The BJP worked hard in its bid to wrest back the state it lost to the Congress five years ago; Karnataka is the only southern state it has ever held power in.