New Delhi, May 16, 2018: The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), have decided to hold protests in front of the Raj Bhawan in Bengaluru, to prevent any attempts by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to poach JD (S) candidates to achieve the required number of members of legislative assembly (MLAs) to form the next Karnataka government.
The move has been taken keeping in mind that the JD(S) MLAs should be in “public view” and that the safest option would be to keep them outside Raj Bhavan, the residence of the Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala. While the parties are still mulling when the dharna (protest) should begin, they are likely to zero in on Thursday morning.
“Usually most MLAs in such cases are stationed at a resort and that is an option for us also. But top leaders from both the sides felt that given how things are going, it (is) best that the MLAs are not in a secluded place and instead in a public area. This dharna will also help us raise our issues in the public domain and keep the unity intact,” a senior Congress leader from Bengaluru, who is closely involved in the discussions, said requesting anonymity.
As of now, the Congress-JD(S) alliance is looking at a figure of 117 MLAs which includes 78 from Congress, 37 from JD(S) and one each from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and an independent. The alliance has held a series of meetings since Wednesday morning for ironing out the final course of action.
Some of the key Congress leaders from Karnataka who are handling the discussions are D.K. Shivakumar, M.B. Patil, G. Parmeshwara and Dinesh Gundu Rao. H.D. Kumaraswamy, Danish Ali and A. Manjunath, among others, from the JD(S) are part of the discussions.
“We are confident of forming the government. Top opposition leaders have offered their support to us and our unity is intact. We are also keeping the legal routes open incase it is required,” said a senior Congress leader from Delhi, requesting anonymity.
The Karnataka election results had on Tuesday threw up a fractured mandate—the BJP won 104 seats, the Congress 78 and the JD(S) 37 seats and others, 2. The halfway mark to achieve a simple majority is 112 seats. The Congress-JD(S) alliance has 117 seats.
Out of 224 seats in the Karnataka assembly, 222 went to polls on 12 May.