Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka govts on shaky ground?
The Lok Sabha election results could determine the fate of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh governments, which enjoy wafer-thin majorities. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the polls in the two states winning all but four seats there.
The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) or JD (S) alliance government in Karnataka, which completed a year in office on Thursday, won just three out of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state. In the assembly by-elections, too, the BJP won one of the two seats.
The BJP now has 105 seats in the 224-member Karnataka assembly. The Congress-JD(S) coalition has 118 lawmakers. They include 79 Congress, 37 JD (S), one Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and one independent lawmakers.
Another independent lawmaker, who is currently unaligned, is likely to go with the BJP should it need his support.
A Congress leader said that even if the two independents joined the BJP, it would need another 11 lawmakers to defect from the coalition.
JD (S) leaders went into a huddle at former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda’s house after the results were declared.
JD (S) spokesman, T A Saravana, said his party respects the people’s verdict and will discuss the next course of action.
The Congress and the JD (S) were unable to address their bitter rivalry even in the Old Mysuru region, where the BJP was a relatively marginal force. They managed just three seats from this region – Hassan, Chamarajanagar and Bangalore Rural. The alliance failed to win any seats elsewhere in the state.
Troubles have plagued the coalition. In January, a rebellion broke out in the Congress, as four of its lawmakers went “missing”. One of them, Umesh Jadhav, defected to the BJP and defeated Mallikarjun Kharge in national polls from Gulbarga.
Another, Ramesh Jarkiholi, said on April 23 that he was set to quit the party. On Monday, Congress leader R Roshan Baig hit out at the party after exit polls.
Former chief minister and BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa said it was time for the coalition to make clear its intentions. “This unnatural alliance, which faced a moral loss, should tell the people if it wishes to continue. We will wait for their decision and I will not make any comments before that,” he said.
Congress state president, Dinesh Gundu Rao, acknowledged the results showed a national wave in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which his party respects. He underlined there is no question of voluntarily dissolving the government. “We have won these seats in an election and we have the numbers to prove a majority. We are not going to withdraw support,” Rao said.
In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP this week wrote to governor Anandiben Patel seeking a special session of the assembly even as chief minister Kamal Nath alleged that BJP was trying to buy his lawmakers. The troubles are likely to mount for Nath’s government as the BJP won all but one of the state’s 29 seats.
A Congress functionary said they have 113 seats and Nath is winning his by-election. “We have a chance to improve it to 115 because the assembly seat held by G S Damor of the BJP will fall vacant as he is likely to win the Jhabua Lok Sabha seat. We have the support of four independent, two BSP and one Samajwadi Party MLAs and they are firmly with us,’’ the functionary said.
The BJP has 109 seats in the 231-member Madhya Pradesh assembly.
BJP spokesman Lokendra Parashar said there are internal contradictions within the Congress. “Kamal Nath trapped Digvijaya Singh into contesting from Bhopal, denying him his safe Rajgarh seat. There are differences within the party. If the Congress government falls... the BJP is a political party and we will do what is expected of a party.”