The BJP, which has 107 votes along with two independent members who switched sides, is also expected to get the support of the lone legislator of the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Two days after Karnataka’s Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition collapsed after failing a floor test, the BJP is yet to stake claim to power. The party’s BS Yeddyurappa, flashing victory signals after the trust vote, had indicated that with a go-ahead from his party leadership, he would soon meet the Governor.
That go-ahead did not come on Wednesday, a day after the BJP scored 105 votes in the test of strength in which the ruling coalition could manage only 99. As the state’s tallest BJP leader and its three-time Chief Minister, Mr Yeddyurappa is expected to get the top job even though he is past the BJP’s 75 age bar.
A group of BJP leaders, including Mr Yeddyurappa’s son Vijayendra Yeddyurappa, are in Delhi to meet with BJP president Amit Shah. “Senior leaders will meet Amit Shah. I am on a personal visit,” said Vijayendra Yeddyurappa, refusing to comment on his visit. Another BJP leader, Arvind Limbavali, said: “We are here to take the guidance of the central leadership, for the formation of the new government, what should be the strategy and action plan.”
Until something emerges from the meeting, the BJP in Karnataka will wait to hold a legislature party meeting in which Mr Yeddyurappa’s selection as leader will pave the way for his takeover as the new chief minister.
Sources say the BJP is treading cautiously so as to ensure it has enough numbers for a stable government this time. In May last year, just after the Karnataka polls that delivered no clear winner, Mr Yeddyurappa took oath as chief minister, confident of pulling in the few lawmakers needed to touch majority. He quit within 48 hours, just before a trust vote.
A lot hinges on the 16 rebels whose resignations brought down the Congress-JDS coalition and Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s decision on them. Most of the lawmakers are in Mumbai, and have ruled out returning to Bengaluru for now.
If the Speaker decides to disqualify the rebels for defying their parties, then they cannot get ministries in the new BJP government as they have to contest again. If their resignations are accepted, they can be rewarded with ministries for enabling the HD Kumaraswamygovernment’s downfall.
On Wednesday, Mr Yeddyurappa said he was waiting for “blessings” from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP’s ideological mentor. “I came here to take the blessings of senior leaders of the Sangh Parivar. I’m waiting for instructions from Delhi, at any point of time we will call for Legislature Party and then head to the Raj Bhavan,” Mr Yeddyurappa told reporters outside the RSS office in Bengaluru.
The effective strength of the 224-member Karnataka assembly is 210, with the half-way mark at 105. The BJP, which has 107 votes along with two independent members who switched sides, is also expected to get the support of the lone legislator of the Bahujan Samaj Party, who was expelled by Mayawati after he defied her orders to support the government during yesterday’s trust vote.