The Karnataka verdict today has thrown up a host of possible scenarios with the BJP falling just short of the magic figure to form the government and the Congress and the JD(S) striking a surprise deal to keep the saffron party out of power.
Outlook takes a look at the possible scenarios:
Governor invites BJP
Governor Valubhai Vala invites BJP as the largest party to prove majority. In this case, Congress and the JD(S) are likely to object to it claiming that their alliance has got more number of seats than the BJP and hence they have the right to form the government. The Congress has already cited Arun Jaitley’s old tweets and quotes where he had reportedly said that the governor is constitutionally right in case of a hung verdict in inviting the leader of the majority coalition. The Congress has also cited the examples of Goa, Meghalaya and Manipur where the largest parties were not invited by the governor to form government paving way for the BJP to stake claim.
BJP woos legislators from Congress, JD(S)
The BJP had literally stolen the power in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya where the elections had thrown up a fractured mandate. Congress had won 28 out of 60 seats in Manipur and 17 of the 40 seats in Goa. But, the BJP completely outmanoeuvred the Congress in the government formation exercise. The BJP had also won over the regional parties in Meghalaya after the elections to form the government. In Karnataka, already there are rumours of Congress’s Lingayat legislators crossing over to BJP.
Governor invites JD(S)-Congress combine
The BJP is likely to oppose it tooth and nail as the party has already alleged that the Congress is trying to “subvert the popular mandate” to retain power through the “back door.” “People of Karnataka will never accept this. They had given a mandate for a Congress-mukt Karnataka,” BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, B.S. Yeddyurappa has told media persons today.
Governor gives time to parties
In a fourth possibility, the governor can give time- two days, three days or may be 10 days- to both the parties to prove majority. This is likely to throw up chances of horse trading and more backdoor deals. In the recent past, we have seen how legislators were taken by political parties to resorts and unidentified locations to prevent them from becoming turncoats. Bengaluru had witnessed such an episode during the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections and some of the Congress leaders from Karnataka were actively behind this.
Governor doesn’t call anyone, recommends president’s rule
In an extreme case scenario, the governor might recommend president’s rule until the matter is resolved. In 2016, President’s rule was imposed in Uttarakhand after some rebel Congress MLAs joined the BJP. Though the High Court later set aside the President’s rule, this still shows the kind of possibilities politics can throw up sometimes.