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Is Karnataka heading for mid-term polls after May 23 Lok Sabha results?

The Lok Sabha election results will not only have an impact in Delhi, but will most likely have an effect on Karnataka’s Congress-JDS coalition government. While the BJP is confident of forming a government after May 23, the JD(S) and Congress said there is no threat to the Kumaraswamy government

Is Karnataka heading for mid-term polls after May 23 Lok Sabha results?
Bengaluru, First Published Apr 26, 2019, 7:16 PM IST
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Bengaluru: With May 23 being the D-Day for Lok Sabha election results, the fate of Karnataka coalition government may also likely to depend on the same. As the Congress-JD(S) combine is facing rebellion from within and with the BJP not having simple majority of 113 MLAs looks like the state will head for mid-term polls by 2020.

According to the BJP, the party is gearing to form the government as they are expecting good results on May 23 where the fate of Karnataka’s 28 MPs and two MLAs in by-elections will be out. The coalition government’s number has been reduced from 118 to 116 in the 224-member house following the death of minister and Kundgol MLA CS Shivalli and resignation of Chincholi MLA Umesh Jadhav.

"We have 104 MLAs in the BJP and we have support of two independent MLAs. After the Lok Sabha election and by-polls results, there will be a development in Karnataka politics," said BJP spokesperson Tejaswini Ramesh, hinting at the saffron party staking claim to form the government in coming months. However, she did not rule out mid-term elections in Karnataka but added it was too early to think about the same.

Agreeing with Tejaswini, psephologist Professor Sandeep Shastri, Jain University vice chancellor, observed that in case the BJP does well both at the Centre as well as the state, there should be no shadow of doubt in the HD Kumaraswamy government facing trouble. Even if the Congress does well, there will be instability as few MLAs will create trouble.

"The pinpricks will continue in the coalition, there will be mudslinging and convulsions. The party cadres and leaders from the Congress may blame the JDS for poor show in some areas and it is vice-versa," said Shastri.

However, JD(S) leader and cooperation minister Bandepa Kashampur said the tussle in the lower ranks will not matter as long as the JD(S) and Congress high command remain strong.

With regard to Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi creating trouble to the government and Karnataka facing mid-term polls, Kashampur said, "Ramesh is in touch with the chief minister. Issues are being addressed. The statements and speculations of mid-term polls are to keep Yeddyurappa and his camp happy. As of now, everything is ok."

He further added that since the Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar is from the coalition, the rebels will be aware of the fate of 16 MLAs who were disqualified by the then Speaker KG Bopaiah in 2011 who charged them of defecting.

Expecting to scuttle the BJP’s chances by winning 16 to 20 out of 28 MP seats, Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao said the rebel issue of Jarkiholi camp has been there from one year and still the government is intact.

"Whatever may be the outcome (of Lok Sabha election), the coalition will stay. With regard to mid-term polls, no MLA including the BJP will be ready to face Assembly elections," Rao said.

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