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Is Karnataka set for a coalition government?

November 04, 2009 14:59 IST

Karnataka may see the return of a coalition government soon. Sources in the Bharatiya Janata Party say that even if the high command manages to find a solution to the present crisis, it will be short lived and the crisis could blow up after three months.

Both the B S Yeddyurappa and Reddy factions are working overtime to woo the Janata Dal (S) on their side. While both sides are in denial about this development and openly say that they will have a workable solution very soon, the fact that H D Kumaraswamy left for New Delhi all of a sudden raises eye brows. What gives more doubt is the statement made by Kumaraswamy just before he left for New Delhi. Before leaving, he said that they would have a minister very soon.

Party insiders tell that hectic talks are on with the JD(S) which has 27 MLAs with it. However, the numbers in the BJP factions are confusing.

While the Yeddyurappa faction claims that it has the support of 85 MLAs, the Reddy faction claims it has 70. The magic number to form a government in Karnataka is 112 which means that any party tying up with the JD(S) will need 85 MLAs on its side. Not only will the faction manage to form the government, but will also avoid the anti-defection law.

Sources, however, point out that at present it is the Reddy faction which has more MLAs on its side. They say that the Reddys have managed to garner the support of 70 MLAs and one of their key members Sriramulu is already in talks with the JD(S).

The Reddy faction is, however, not worried about garnering the support of 15 more MLAs. They are confident that 15 MLAs from the Yeddyurappa faction would happily cross over since it is a matter of staying in power for another 3 years.

The JD(S), too, is pushing hard to form an alliance with one of the factions. The major demand by the JD(S) would be the post of deputy chief minister. It is clear that they would seek this post for H D Deve Gowda's son, Revanna, who has been eyeing power for a long time.

It appears that the JD(S) is ready to support any one of the factions that has the numbers. Although the natural ally seems to be the Yeddyurappa faction at the moment, the JD(S) would be willing to make a compromise and support the Reddy faction in order to come to power.

The option of joining hands with the Congress is however ruled out. A senior Congress leader in Karnataka informed that they have specific instructions from their high command not to interfere in the developments and the option of forming a government with both factions is closed. They have been told to wait another three years and come back to power by working for the party.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru