Congress, BJP, JDS busy chalking out strategies to form Karnataka government 

Express News Service

BENGALURU: A day after polling, a flurry of activity was witnessed in Congress, BJP and JDS camps, all three parties hoping to be in a beneficial position to form a government or to be part of it. Congress, riding on what the exit polls indicated, has an edge and is confident of forming a government after winning a clear majority, although BJP, too, has been exuding such confidence. Many exit polls have predicted a fractured mandate. But the real picture will be out on Saturday when results will be announced.

While Congress leaders went into a huddle, BJP and JDS were busy chalking out strategies, considering various outcomes. BJP is not ruling out the formation of a government with JDS if it falls short of the magic number (113 seats).

AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala held talks with CLP leader Siddaramaiah for about two hours at the latter’s residence. They discussed various strategies for government formation in case of a fractured mandate, sources said. Later, Surjewala held a virtual meeting with leaders, including DK Shivakumar, the party’s front-runner for CM’s post.

According to a source, Congress is considering wooing independents and candidates from other parties, who are sure of winning if it falls short by 4-5 seats. “Congress may get ready for an operation if it falls short of the required seats and its leaders are all prepared,” the source said. Independent candidates from Gauribidanur Puttaswamy Gowda and NCP candidate from Ranebennur R Shankar, among others, are said to be on the Congress’ list as they are likely to win, sources said.

A Congress leader said, “Congress leadership will move briskly to form a government and if the situation demands, it may shift its MLAs to a resort to prevent poaching by BJP.” 

Dr G throws his hat in the ring

AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge expressed concerns that if his party fails to get a clear majority, the BJP may resort to poaching its MLAs. Former DCM Dr G Parameshwara said he too is in the race for CM’s post and met Surjewala on Thursday evening. The BJP leadership is also confident of forming a government as exit polls in many states, including Gujarat, did not favour the party, as they emerged here.

“With due respect to all celebrity pollsters, none of them predicted 282 in 2014 or 303 in 2019 or 156 in 2022 or 104 in 2018. In 2018, @BJP4Karnataka led in 24K booths with 0 leads in 14 Assembly Constituencies (ACs). This time we will lead in 31K booths with all ACs contributing. Numbers is your guess (sic),” tweeted BL Santhosh, BJP national general secretary (organisation).

Revenue Minister R Ashoka said BJP is confident of forming a government even if it fails to get a clear majority on its own. BJP will form a government even if Congress emerges as the single largest party, he said, indicating that they are not ruling out the possibility of joining hands with JDS.

Meanwhile, JDS supremo HD Deve Gowda spoke to party candidates on various alternatives ahead, while former CM HD Kumaraswamy flew to Singapore as soon as polling ended on Wednesday.

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