A newly-elected Karnataka Congress MLA on Wednesday claimed that he received calls from BJP leaders with an offer of a ministry in return for supporting B S Yeddyurappa as the Chief Minister.
After the BJP failed to get a clear majority in the Karnataka assembly polls, the Congress backed third-placed rival JD(S) for a post-poll alliance to keep the saffron party out of power. Both the sides have staked claim to form the government and all eyes are now on Governor Vajubhai Vala who will have to decide whether to invite BJP to form the government or go with the JD(S)-Congress combine.
Both JD(S) state Chief H D Kumaraswamy and BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa yesterday met the Governor to stake claim to form the government.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the JD(S)-Congress combine has the required number. “Governor cannot take sides,” Azad said. “The single largest party does not have the numbers. BJP has 104, we (Congress & JDS) have 117. Governor cannot take sides. Can a person who is there to save constitution, destroy it too? The Governor has to cut all its previous associations, be it BJP or RSS.”
Congress has alleged that BJP is trying to poach its MLAs with a legislator claiming that he got a call from leaders of the saffron party with an offer to be made a minister.
“I got a call from the BJP leaders. They said come to us & we’ll give a ministry to you. We’ll make you a minister. But, I’m going to stay here. HD Kumaraswamy is our Chief Minister,” Amaregouda Linganagouda Patil Bayyapur, who defeated his BJP rival by over 18,000 votes in Karnataka assembly election results of which were declared on Tuesday, said.
Ramalinga Reddy, Home Minister in outgoing Siddaramaiah government, said BJP is trying hard to get the Congress MLAs to support Yeddyurappa.
“We believe in all our MLAs. BJP is trying hard to get them. They don’t believe in democracy, BJP just wants power. All the people are happy, nobody is unhappy here,” Reddy said.
Siddaramaiah, who resigned as Karnataka Chief Minister on Tuesday, said all of the Congress MLAs are with the party.
“All the Congress MLAs are intact. Nobody is missing. We are confident of forming the government,” Siddaramaiah said as he reached Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office for party legislative meeting.
Party MLAs are expected to elect KPCC chief G Parmeswara as Congress legislature party leader.
Congress strategist DK Shivakumar, who reportedly wants to become the Deputy Chief Minister in a government led by Kumaraswamy, alleged that the BJP is trying to poach Congress MLAs but the party has a plan in place to prevent defection.
“Yes, definitely there is a plan. We have to safeguard our MLAs, We will let you know what is the plan,” Shivakumar said after being asked if Congress MLAs in Karnataka will be shifted somewhere else.
“They (BJP) are poaching our MLAs, we know that. Everyday there is a lot of pressure. But it not so easy because two parties have the necessary number. People are watching this,” he said.
JD(S) has also claimed that its MLAs have been approached by the BJP.
In the results declared yesterday, the BJP has won 104 seats while the Congress has 78 MLAs. The JD(S) secured 37 seats while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party got one seat each. One seat went to an independent candidate.
A party has to secure minimum 112 seats for a simple majority in the Assembly. Elections were held for 222 of 224 seats on May 12 as polling for the remaining two will be held later.
The BJP, this morning again exuded confidence in forming the government.