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Congress Delivers the Knockout Punch: What Gave Them an Edge over BJP in Karnataka

Short of the majority mark in Karnataka, Congress did not waste any time in extending unilateral and unconditional support to the Janata Dal (Secular), which had won 38 seats in the 222-member House.

News18.com

Updated:May 19, 2018, 6:00 PM IST
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New Delhi: After concoctions of every order, Congress has finally crossed the last hurdle for forming government in Karnataka. With BS Yeddyurappa stepping down as the Chief Minister before the confidence vote, Congress’s winning combination of strategies seems to have saved them the electoral loss of the state.

Here is a list of measures taken by the Congress that worked towards their eventual win:

Quick Political Action: The Congress took no chances in Karnataka and sent in its top guns to avoid a repeat of the Goa and Manipur fiascos, where it failed to form government despite emerging as the largest party. The party has sent senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot to the southern state one day prior to the results. The Congress had also failed to retain power in Meghalaya recently.

The Congress saw an opportunity in the defeat in the Karnataka Assembly polls and grabbed it with both hands. Short of the majority mark, it did not waste any time in extending unilateral and unconditional support to the Janata Dal (Secular), which had won 38 seats in the 222-member House.

Party general secretary camping in Bangalore Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot were asked to ensure no MLAs cross over. Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati and Sitaram Yechury also pitched in with their inputs. Top Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad were in touch with TDP and TRS leaders.

Congress also maintained stiff public pressure and kept the perception in their favour by holding multiple press conferences post polls.

Legal Supremacy: The Congress knocked the Supreme Court doors twice within 72 hours to ensure a “fair floor test” in Karnataka on Saturday. Earlier, on Thursday, Congress had moved the Court challenging the Governor’s call to form government.

A three-judge bench of the apex court turned down the party’s plea against the appointment of BJP MLA KG Bopaiah as the pro tem (temporary) speaker. However, the Supreme Court ordered for a live telecast of the confidence vote on the floor of the house.

The Congress had on 17 May moved the Supreme Court in a midnight hearing to challenge the Governor’s decision to call BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa to form government. The apex court had then ordered for a floor test.

The legal urgency portrayed by Congress seems to have changed course of the political drama.

Keeping the flock together: Congress wasted no time in transferring their MLAs to a safe haven to prevent horse trading. In the event where even one MLA switching sides could make or mar government formation, Congress took no chances. The eye for detail and meticulous planning was evident in the choice of the travel services selected to ferry MLAs before the floor test.

The Congress delegated the duty of transport of their MLAs to their long-time loyalist late D P Sharma’s bus services. The Congress and the JD(S) MLAs travelled only in Sharma buses.

Congress leader DK Shivkumar also made sure that the missing MLAs were brought back in the camp.

Allegations of poaching: Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday accused the BJP of offering Rs 100 crore and cabinet posts to its newly elected legislators in a "desperate" attempt to form a government in Karnataka.

"Our legislators have been offered Rs 100 crore and cabinet seats by the BJP in return for support," the former chief minister alleged at a press conference.

The JD(S) leader named Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah for the offer as the BJP, he said, was desperate to form a government and deny the JD(S) a chance to form a government with Congress backing.

Congress, in an overdrive to protect its lawmakers, asked them to install an app on their phones and record the calls they receive.

The party also released two audio clips alleging that the BJP tried to offer their MLAs money and ministerial posts in reward for their allegiance.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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