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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Karnataka vote count today; Congress upbeat, BJP tense

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 08, 2013
First Published: 00:24 IST(8/5/2013) | Last Updated: 07:13 IST(8/5/2013)

Weary of the coalition governments in the past, will the voters of Karnataka hand a clear mandate to a single party rather than allow coalitions again?

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Political pundits and leaders are divided about the likely results of the May 5 polling when votes are counted on Wednesday.

The half-way mark or the magic figure to stake claim to form the government in the 225-member House is 113.

Most exit polls have predicted a big advantage for the Congress, citing a three-way split in votes of the BJP due to BS Yeddyurappa's breakaway KJP and Bellary brothers-backed BSR Congress. The shoddy image of the BJP's government of last five years in the state has added to its ills.

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Upbeat Congress leaders say they should get a simple majority. The stability plank of the Congress will be hit if its number does not cross 100. It will then need the Janata dal (Secular) and Yeddyurappa's KJP.

Karnataka's experience with coalitions has seen ups and downs since the first coalition of sorts came to power in 1983. The then Janata Party and Karnataka Kranti Ranga (KKR) formed government with Ramakrishna Hegde as CM and the BJP, CPI(M) and the CPI gave  support from outside.  But it did not last long.

In 2004, the Congress and the JD(S) formed the ministry with N Dharam Singh of the Congress as CM.  But ex-prime minister HD Deve Gowda and the Congress crossed swords, causing its collapse.

In 2006, Gowda's son, Kumaraswamy, cut a deal with Yeddyurappa (who was then BJP's face) to form government with an understanding that CM's post would rotate between them, for 20 months each. Once his tenure was over in 2008, Kumaraswamy refused to hand the baton to the BJP. In the polls that followed, Yeddyurappa hit the road to create a sympathy wave for BJP. The BJP won 110 seats, and formed the government with the help of independents. It then got opposition MLAs to resign and contest as BJP nominees to increase the tally to 120.


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