Karnataka polls: Fearing hung House, BJP & Congress mount backroom operations to woo JD(S) | Karnataka Election News – Times of India

BENGALURU: With most exit polls throwing up the prospect of a fractured verdict in Karnataka, both Congress and BJP have commenced back room operations to strike an alliance with JD(S) to form a government in the event of a hung assembly.
On Thursday, senior Congress functionaries led by PCC chief D K Shivakumar and former CM Siddaramaiah held talks with party general secretaries KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala on the way forward.
Sources said Union minister Shobha Karandlaje held telephonic discussions with BJP’s central leaders on the likely scenarios in the event of a fractured verdict. If BJP falls short of a simple majority, it will have to seek the support of JD(S) and others by giving them their pound of flesh.

In 2018, BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats but was short of a majority by nine, while Congress had 78 and JD(S) 37. To keep BJP out, Congress gave the CM’s post to JD(S). HD Kumaraswamy became CM, but only lasted a year as BJP, led by BS Yediyurappa, engineered defections from Congress and JD(S) and ensured the collapse of the coalition.
If these elections produce similar results, it is unlikely that Kumaraswamy will be crowned king again. The possibility of a vertical split in JD(S) also cannot be ruled out if it performs as poorly as exit polls have predicted (12-33 seats).
As he did in 2018, Kumaraswamy left for Singapore for a brief holiday on Wednesday night. He is expected to return on Saturday. The biggest fear and challenge for Kumaraswamy is to keep his legislators together in the event of a hung House.
If Congress gets close to a majority (113 seats), it is likely to court independents and smaller parties to form the government. But the situation will be a lot harder if Congress ends up as the single largest party but needs the support of more than 10 MLAs. It will then have to seek the support of JD(S). In such a scenario, it is unlikely Siddaramaiah or Shivakumar will become CM as neither has a good rapport with the regional party.

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