Karnataka by-poll results, a warning for Uddhav government?

The by-election results of Karnataka in which the ruling BJP won 12 of the total 15 seats, helping the four-month-old BS Yediyurappa government to retain majority in the Assembly, is a warning for the newly formed Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra !

The power equation in both the states was more or less same. After emerging the single largest party in Karnataka, the BJP was prevented to form a government when the Congress and JD (S) combine installed its government there. In Maharashtra too, despite the then ruling BJP bagged 105 seats alone, it was stalled to form the government by once its principal partner, the Shiv Sena, who had contested the elections along with BJP against the Congress-NCP alliance.

After lot of dramas of resignations of the then 17 ruling MLAs (Congress and JD-S) in Karnataka from their memberships of the state Assembly and preferred to face fresh elections. This had led to form a new government led by BS Yediyurappa of BJP and a by-polls were announced in those areas where the MLAs had resigned.

The Yediyurappa government in Karnataka will now continue in power as the BJP won 12 of the 15 seats which went to by-polls in Karnataka on December 5. While the Congress has won in two constituencies, one independent supported by the JD(S) managed to defeat the BJP candidate. The by polls were necessitated after 17 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs were disqualified after their revolt against the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July. The collapse of the coalition led to the BJP coming to power. Twelve of the 15 seats were held by the Congress and three by JD(S). Now the ruling BJP won 12 out of the 15 seats where by polls were held, thus securing a comfortable majority in the Karnataka assembly.

The by-elections were crucial for the BJP, which needed to win at least seven seats to ensure simple majority of 112 in the legislative assembly to continue in power in the 223-member House. The BJP had 104 members, excluding the Speaker and the support of an Independent. The Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said the people have voted for stability and his government’s performance. The party accepts the will of the people, he said.
The BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday welcomed the outcome of Karnataka assembly by-polls, swept by his party, saying the result reflected voters’ reaction to “opportunist politics”. In Maharashtra also, the BJP was prevented to form a government despite it had bagged 105 seats of 288-member house. Moreover, 14 independent MLAs came forward to support the BJP government. However, the “opportunist politics” foiled the bid of the BJP to form a government, instead, Uddhav Thackeray led government was installed with the help of NCP and the Congress, last month.

“I had expected that the voters might vote against the disqualified MLAs, who sold themselves. I thought they will be punished and I had expected this to happen. My expectations have gone wrong,” Siddaramaiah had said while tendering his resignation from the leader of the Congress legislature party. The KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao also resigned from his post, taking moral responsibility for poor show by Congress in the Karnataka assembly by polls. “We respect the mandate of people,” he however, said.

Political pundits in Maharashtra felt that Karnataka formula can also be exercised in the state in coming days as the BJP can exploit the anguish of common man against the “opportunist” politics in one of the largest states in the country when a combination (BJP and Sena) got an absolute majority, but the major partner, BJP was kept away from the power.