India's Hindu nationalists defeat Congress in state election

Karnataka state elections throw up unclear verdict

Elections over, and now politics begins

Shah tearing into Gandhi said that the democracy was murdered by the Congress the minute it made a decision to ally with the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S) for political gains. Kumaraswamy has been chosen as Assembly leader. Its leader Rahul Gandhi, scion of India's Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, has still not won a state election since he took over from his mother Sonia Gandhi this year. The BJP is 8 short with 104 MLAs. And so what if the third-placed party has won only 38 seats in a Legislative Assembly of 224, minus two seats where polling will be held later! While some invoke the Goa case of 2017, where the governor invited the BJP despite Congress being the single largest party, to argue that the same principle should be applied here, the fact is that in Karnataka, the claim of the Congress and the JD (S) is on an even higher pedestal. The JD-S and the Congress leaders submitted a list of support of 117 MLAs. Nor did his voice matter in political strategy or backroom maneuvering at national level but as luck would have it, the so-called secularists joined hands with outside support of the Congress to prevent BJP from taking power.

Even as the JD (S) LP was under way, two MLA elects - Raja Venktappa Naik and Appajirao Nadagouda - could not reach the venue on time, triggering speculation that they had switched sides, reminding people of Operation Kamala in 2008.

Congress leaders said the party, by extending support to JD (S), although belatedly, was sending out a message of flexibility.

From the humdrum existence as a government clerk and a hardware store owner to becoming the chief minister of Karnataka for a third time, BS Yeddyurappa has navigated the choppy waters of politics with the consummate ease of a seasoned oarsman, defying tidal waves of adversity. In 2007, he was in the Chief Ministerial gaadi for seven days.

In the Lok Sabha elections that followed, the BJP won 19 of the state's 28 seats, a remarkable turnaround for the party which had secured a measly 19.9 per cent votes in the Assembly polls just a year ago leading to the fall of its first government. Having disregarded the claim of a coalition with requisite numbers, he has gone ahead and invited a party in minority.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kumaraswamy, commenting on the party performance, said: "I'm not very happy with the results though I accept people's mandate".

When asked if BJP has the number of MLAs to prove majority, he said: "Definitely, we have". Poaching and horse trading is not done by BJP, Congress is famous for it. "Otherwise, BJP would not cross 80 seats", he said. In Goa, the Governor did not invite the single largest party, the Congress, but the post-poll alliance of the BJP and the Goa Forward Party and the MGP. "The Congress [coalition] has a clear majority".

Singhvi responded, "It is not like restraining the Governor, who only acted in pursuance of the BJP letter". All these departures from constitutional wholesomeness and political fairness have come to haunt the BJP bosses in Karnataka.

The BJP fielded candidates linked to the corruption-hit mining industry that led to a scandal when the party was last in government, centred on the Reddy brothers, one of whom was a BJP minister.

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