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Karnataka Floor Test: How Hands-On Sonia and Priyanka Prevented Goa Repeat in Karnataka

That Congress was ready with plan B if it fell short of numbers was evident on the counting day when it wasted no time in conceding chief ministership to JD(S). It was an indication the party would not want Karnataka to slip out of its hands without a fight.

Pallavi Ghosh | CNN-News18_pallavighosh

Updated:May 19, 2018, 11:26 AM IST
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New Delhi: 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. The polling for two more seats will be held later.

Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on Friday, Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi had a discussion with Sonia Gandhi. Other members of the family, including Priyanka Gandhi, were involved in strategising party position.

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 sources told News18, that the party will now make serious efforts to form governments in states like Goa, Meghalaya and Manipur where they are sitting in opposition despite being the single-largest party in the Assembly.
That Congress was ready with plan B if it fell short of numbers was evident on the counting day when it wasted no time in conceding chief ministership to JD(S). It was an indication the party would not want Karnataka to slip out of its hands without a fight.

To begin with, the two post poll allies first got their MLAs to assemble in Bengaluru and whisked them away to a resort in HD Kumaraswamy’s constituency.

A day ahead of the counting, its top leadership landed in the state capital to shepherd the party during fast paced political developments.

Appointment with Governor was sought immediately and letter of support staking claim to form the government was submitted.

Meanwhile, sensing BJP may be given the first shot at power, the party coordinated its efforts with non-BJP regional satraps. From Akhilesh to Mayawati to DMK, potential non-NDA allies spoke in unison against Governor’s decision to invite BJP. To keep the flock together, MLAs were taken out of Karnataka Thursday night to Hyderabad.

Party’s legal luminaries led by Abhishek Manu Singhvi knocked at SC’s door hours after Karnataka Governor invited B S Yeddyurappa to take oath. They argued the case well into Thursday morning.

The late night drama was fronted by Singhvi with backroom inputs by Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram and Vivek Tankha.

But on D-day all the top lawyers were present in court. Sibal argued for JD(S) and the Congress. Chidambaram turned up last minute and argued the Anglo Indian community seeking a stay on the nomination of the member from the community before trust vote.

If the Congress-JD(S) manages to win the floor test, it will be a huge moral and political victory. But more importantly it would be a huge boost for opposition unity.

It would show they have managed to get some of their mojo back. The battle for 2019 has truly begun.

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