Karnataka Election Results 2018: Tables turned, BJP scrambles to ‘explore all possibilities’


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Karnataka Election Results 2018: Tables turned, BJP scrambles to ‘explore all possibilities’
BJP leaders appeared surprised by the Congress alacrity this time, given that it had failed to move in Goa and Manipur.
More than a year after the assembly elections in Goa and Manipur where it formed governments despite not being the single largest party in the polls, the BJP Tuesday found the tables turned in Karnataka.

Emerging as the single largest party but short of majority in the Karnataka House, it was scrambling to plot a strategy by evening after the Congress, in the second position, moved swiftly to extend support to the JD(S) which staked claim to form the government — the Congress had cried “murder of democracy” after the BJP cobbled up post-poll coalitions in Manipur and Goa.

Addressing party workers at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, party president Amit Shah, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, thanked the people of Karnataka for the “victory” and “making it Congress-mukt”.

But the mood in the BJP, which was euphoric when trends during the day suggested it was going to cross the half-way mark in Karnataka, turned sombre once it became clear that a simple majority would elude the party.

Referring to the proverbial hare-and-tortoise race, sources said there was a feeling in the BJP that it had been outsmarted by its rival despite holding the “advantages”. The developments in the second half of the day, sources said, were unexpected.

BJP leaders appeared surprised by the Congress alacrity this time, given that it had failed to move in Goa and Manipur. “More surprising was ( H D) Kumaraswamy whose party benefited from our strategy (of the BJP going easy in JD(S) strongholds)… and then he agreed to go with the Congress,” a BJP source said.

At a campaign rally in Udupi, Narendra Modi publicly declared his “respect” for H D Deve Gowda. “I hold the door open for Deve Gowda when he visits me, I escort him to the car when he leaves. That is the respect a former Prime Minister deserves which others (referring to Rahul Gandhi) do not understand,” he said, adding: “You (Rahul Gandhi) disrespect Deve Gowda even though you are a novice and he is a veteran.”

The Prime Minister’s praise of Deve Gowda prompted Rahul Gandhi to accuse the JD (S) of being a B-team of the BJP. This saw Deve Gowda deny possible ties with the BJP.

With the scenario “fluid” and the BJP exploring options, the party central leadership has rushed J P Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan and Prakash Javadekar to Bengaluru. P Muralidhar Rao, party general secretary in-charge of Karnataka who had come to the national capital for a meeting Monday, also returned to the state after meeting Amit Shah.

B S Yeddyurappa, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, has cancelled his trip to New Delhi. Party sources said the leaders have been asked to “explore all possibilities” to “see that the mandate is respected”.

“People of Karnataka have voted for change… Congress has lost this time. Even after being rejected, they want to form the government. I condemn this,” Yeddyurappa said.

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