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Congress proved cleverer by weaving a post-poll alliance : Amit Shah

8:53 PM, Monday, May 21st, 2018
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Amit ShahNew Delhi : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah sought to take a moral high ground after the fiasco over installing BS Yeddyurappa as the Karnataka chief minister. However, the BJP and Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala are to share the blame for the mess that took place over the race for power in the southern state.

There would not have been any need for the BJP to come clean had it not shown desperation to form government in Karnataka despite failing to get a clear majority.

Not just the BJP but also the Karnataka governor faltered on several counts in taking decisions regarding government formation in the state.

The BJP failed to stitch an alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) — JD (S) — during the two-day gap between voting on May 12 and counting of votes on May 15.

The BJP’s failure to tie up with the JD (S) perhaps emerged from its confidence that it would cross the magic figure of 111 on its own.

The Congress proved cleverer by weaving a post-poll alliance even before the results were announced.

The move must have come as a rude shock for the BJP because till the elections, both the Congress and the JD (S) appeared to be bitter rivals. On the other hand, the BJP and the JD (S) were seen to be prospective allies in the event of a fractured verdict.

This emerged from the tone and tenor of the party leaders during the campaigning. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and JD (S) chief HD Deve Gowda were seen indulging in mutual appreciation, Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched a personal attack on the leader of the regional party.

The BJP also faltered on staking claim without having the requisite number of MLAs. This gave the impression of the BJP indulging in horse-trading.

The swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as the chief minister added more embarrassing moments for the BJP. He remained on the seat for just about 56 hours. Now, his 56 hours as CM is being equated with “56-inch chest” jibe of Modi and is being mocked by their rivals.

The governor is being attacked for taking a number of controversial decisions.

Amit Shah today said that the Congress did not stake claim to form government in Karnataka leaving the governor with no option but to invite the single largest party in a hung assembly.

But while inviting Yeddyurappa to form government, Governor Vajubhai Vala did not verify the numbers from him. His act of inviting the BJP without asking for numbers has been the root cause for the BJP’s embarrassment.

The governor’s decision to give 15 days’ time to Yeddyurappa to prove his majority on the floor of the house gave rise to another major controversy.

The Congress moved the Supreme Court against the governor’s invitation to Yeddyurappa to form the government. Though the court did not find fault with that, it cut down 15 days to about 24 hours to prove majority.

The appointment of a relatively junior BJP MLA KG Bopaiah as pro tem speaker to conduct the floor test also became a bone of contention between the Congress-JD (S) combine and the governor.

The Congress, which was in favour of its senior-most MLA RV Deshpande for appointment as the pro tem speaker, moved the Supreme Court again. The court rejected the Congress’s plea on the ground that on some occasions relatively junior MLAs have been appointed as the pro tem speaker.

It cited the floor test in March 2005 of the Jharkhand assembly. The then Jharkhand Governor Syed Sibtey Razi had appointed one of the most junior MLAs Pradeep Kumar Balmachu of the UPA as pro tem speaker to conduct the floor test allegedly for favouring Congress-backed JMM’s Shibu Soren.

The cumulative effect of all these decisions was a perception that the BJP was not just encouraging horse-trading but also indulging in it. The charge was reinforced when several audio clips allegedly of BJP leaders offering bribes to the Congress and JD (S) MLAs surfaced before Yeddyurappa’s floor test.

The BJP is being viewed as trying to give a twist to Yeddyurappa resigning even before facing the floor test. On the other hand, the Congress is trying to create a perception that the BJP surrendered to it after its horse-trading attempt did not fructify.

The Congress and the JD (S) have done the damage. It is up to the BJP now to minimise the damage. Amit Shah was seen doing exactly that on Monday.

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