The Congress-JD(S) combine, which staked claim to form a government in Karnataka, alleged on Wednesday that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying to poach its lawmakers after a close election.
BJP’s Basavaraj Bommai, a former minister and the son of ex-chief minister SR Bommai, said his party was not “approaching any individual” but stressed that “politics is an art of possibility”, according to news agency ANI.
In a fractured mandate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP made inroads into Karnataka by winning 104 seats but fell short of a majority. The Congress (78 seats) and former prime minister Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular), which won 37 seats, said they had the numbers to run the 224-member House. The bloc also claimed the support of two independents and an MLA belonging to JD(S) ally BSP.
After results were declared on Tuesday for 222 constituencies -- voting in two constituencies was countermanded, both teams rushed to the governor’s house and appeared confident about their bid.
With stakeholders waiting for the governor to make his next move, murmurs of poaching gained ground on Wednesday.
Early in the day, Congress leaders went into a huddle at their Karnataka headquarters in Bengaluru, where senior leaders are camping to oversee the political overtures in the state that is crucial to the party in national politics.
Following a string of election losses, the Congress now holds power in Punjab, Mizoram and the Union Territory of Puducherry. It has ruled Karnataka for the past five years.
And soon after, the JD(S) legislative party meet in Bengaluru.
“They (BJP) are poaching or MLAs. We know that,” ANI quoted Congress leader DK Shivakumar as saying. “Yes, definitely there is a plan. We have to safeguard our MLAs, We will let you know what is the plan”.
Outgoing chief minister Siddaramaiah reiterated that the Congress-JD(S) bloc was confident about forming a government, according to the news agency.
“I don’t know what they (BJP) are offering but they are trying to call our people, but they are not responding. We are all together, no one can touch our party. Our party MLAs are loyal to the party,” JD(S) leader Sarvana said.
HD Kumaraswamy, a former CM and the son of Deve Gowda, said: “We have already decided to go with the Congress. That’s the reason we called Janta Dal (Secular) Legislature Party meeting. There is no question of taking any other decision.”
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