As the sun went down on Monday over the land of Karnataka, a kingmaker emerged as the king of the state which has maintained its ‘stellar’ record of never returning the same government to power consecutively.
Janata Dal (Secular), the party seen by everyone as a powerful force whose support would be needed to form government, emerged as the power itself. The biggest gainer in the high-stakes battle in the southern state was HD Kumaraswamy, the CM candidate and son of JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda.
By the evening, it was apparent that Kumaraswamy, whose father is a former prime minister and staunch opponent of the BJP, could become the Chief Minister of Karnataka a second time.
As soon as it became clear that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would fall just short of the majority mark of 113, even if it emerged as the single largest party, Congress approached the JD(S) and proposed the formation of government by stitching together the bags of seats the two party managed to win.
At the time of writing, the Congress had in its kitty 78 seats, while the JD(S) just 37 seats. Together, they have a hold on 115 seats while the BJP appears to be getting 104. A candidate each from the BSP and the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) won a seat each, while an Independent candidate won in another constituency.
The 2018 Karnataka verdict appears like a replay of the 2004 elections in the state in which no party got a clear majority. The Congress, in spite of losing 67 seats from what it had won in the previous election, came to power by forming an alliance with the JD(S), thus giving Karnataka its first coalition government.
Till January 2006, Congress leader Dharam Singh remained the CM. In a political upheaval, Kumaraswamy broke the alliance and aligned with the BJP to form government in the state. He then served as the CM from February 2006 to October 2007. Another political shakeup resulted in the emergence of BS Yeddyurappa as the CM of the state for a very brief period before the government was dissolved and President’s Rule was imposed.
Today, HD Kumaraswamy, the CM candidate for the JD(S), wrote a letter to Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala seeking an appointment and clearly stating that he has accepted Congress’ offer of support to form government.
But then Yeddyurappa, too, has expressed confidence in forming a government by proving majority.