With national elections required within the coming year, any election for the legislative assembly in a major Indian state acquires added importance. In that light, the recent election and post-electoral bargaining in Karnataka is critical.1 It appears that the BJP has earned the ability to form the new government in the state. It won 110 of 224 seats in the election, and seems to have secured commitments from five of the six independents who were elected, which would be sufficient to form a majority. The Congress party, which continues to head a minority government at the center, had won the previous (1999) Karnataka election (132 seats on 40.8% of the vote).
From here, this looks like a pretty stinging defeat of Congress, which has essentially admitted that it has no intention to try to form a minority or coalition state government after this result.
â€œWe accept defeat. The people voted for us to sit in the Opposition and we will play that role, exposing the BJP,â€ said AICC2 general secretary in charge of Karnataka Prithviraj Chavan. Spokesman Manish Tiwari too said: â€œThe Congress will try to fulfil its responsibility as an Opposition party.â€
Shivakumar admitted a group of Congress leaders had met the four Independent legislators, but insisted it was only to exchange notes on what went wrong. â€œWe cannot match the inducements the BJP leaders are offering. I believe they are being tempted with Rs 50 crore each,â€ he said.
The allegations of “inducements” of the sort indicated have not been confirmed.