Even as the BJP has emerged as the single largest party in the Karnataka assembly polls, sources in the Congress say they have offered support to the JD(S), with HD Kumaraswamy as the CM of the state.
Top sources in the Congress confirmed to TNM that the offer has already been communicated to the JD(S) and that senior leaders of the party are heading to meet the JD(S) chief. On Tuesday morning, HD Kumaraswamy, who had just arrived from Singapore left to the Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana Mutt in Mandya along with his wife to offer prayers. Even as reporters waited for him in Bengaluru, he did not return to the city.
Now, it is being said that Congress leaders, led by Ghulam Nabi Azad, are likely to meet HD Deve Gowda in the evening.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru later, Ghulam Nabi Azad confirmed the same and said, “We have had long telephonic conversations with both Mr Deve Gowda and Mr Kumaraswamy. And they have accepted. Hopefully, by this evening, we will go together to the Governor and give the letter to form the government.”
As of 2pm on Tuesday, the BJP’s tally stood at 106 seats (leads and results), while Congress had 74 seats in its kitty and the JD(S) had 40. Two independents had also been declared winners. With Congress leaders confident that the BJP might not reach the magic number of 113 all by itself, they have now offered support to the JD(S) to form the government.
JD(S) sources however add that HD Kumaraswamy may not be too keen on such an arrangement with the Congress as his party has considerably less number of MLAs than Congress. However, a source in the party said that party patriarch Deve Gowda will prefer the option of going with the Congress since they could also then bolster their secular image ahead of the 2019 polls.
However, according to standard practice, the Karnataka Governor would be inclined to invite the BJP to form the government since they are the largest party.
In the hard fought election battle in Karnataka, the early leads showed that the BJP had crossed the halfway mark. But as leads started getting confirmed to wins, while BJP continued to emerge as the single largest party, they did not have a clear majority. However, the Congress and the JD(S) together could comfortably cross the halfway mark.
HD Kumaraswamy was the Chief Minister of Karnataka between February 2006 and October 2007, when the JD(S) was in alliance with the BJP. Back then, the JD(S) and the BJP had an agreement over sharing the chief ministership between the two parties. However, after his agreed two-year term ended, there were fissures in the alliance between JD(S) and BJP, when Kumaraswamy refused to step down.