Two days after BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa resigned as Chief Minister without taking a floor test in Karnataka, party president Amit Shah hit back at the Congress Monday, wondering what was its “jashn” (celebration) all about given that the “mandate of the people” had been “anti-Congress” and against the Congress Chief Minister.
Maintaining there was nothing “improper” in the BJP approaching the Governor and staking claim to form the government, Shah rejected criticism that it had overlooked the single-largest-party factor to form governments in Manipur and Goa. The Congress, he pointed out, had not approached the Governors to stake claim in the two states despite winning the largest number of states.
Addressing the press in New Delhi — this was his first interaction after the BJP failed to muster the numbers in the Karnataka House — Shah also accused the Congress of “violating democratic norms” by keeping its MLAs and those of the JD(S) in “five-star hotels”. “If those parties had not locked up their MLAs in five-star hotels to save themselves from the summer and to swim in the swimming pools, if they were left free, people would have told them who should they vote for. Even if they had been allowed to take out victory processions, people would have told them who should they vote. Then the BJP would have won the trust vote,” he said, adding that the Congress, which accused the BJP of horse trading, had in fact bought an entire stable.
Underlining that the BJP emerged as the largest party and polled more votes than the last time, Shah said: “The Chief Minister (of Congress) lost the election and won with a narrow majority in the second one. His ministers have lost elections. This shows that the mandate was against the Congress and its regime. Some people have tried to spread disinformation, saying why did the BJP, despite not having the majority, stake claim.” “No party had the majority. Should we have gone for another election? When no party has majority, the single largest party has the right to form the government, which was the BJP in Karnataka. If we had not staked claim, it would have been against the mandate given by the people of Karnataka. So I do not think there was anything improper in our move,” he said, adding that even the JD(S) had campaigned against the Congress and its weaknesses in the run-up to the election.
He maintained there was “no confusion” in the mandate since the BJP fell only seven seats short of the magic number. In many constituencies, including six in Bengaluru, the BJP lost with a margin less than the NOTA votes, he said. Taking a swipe at the Congress and the JD(S) for “celebrating” the Karnataka results, Shah said: “With JD(S) and Congress coming to one platform to form a government, people in Karnataka are not celebrating… Congress should tell the people of the country what its celebrations are all about. Their seats were 122, it has come down to 78. More than half its ministers lost the elections. Are they celebrating that? Are they celebrating their Chief Minister’s defeat? They had three CMs before the Karnataka election and now there are two. Or is it celebrating the fact that it is now a party of PPP… reduced to Punjab, Puducherry and Parivar (a reference to the Gandhi family)?… What is it that JD(S) is celebrating? That its tally is 37 or that it lost its deposit in 80 per cent seats? Please clarify.”
“The Congress is now starting to have faith in Constitutional bodies like the Supreme Court, Election Commission, and they even like EVMs,” Shah said, adding that he hopes that the Congress will continue to show the same faith when it loses and is unable to form government. He claimed that the Congress lawyer lied in the Supreme Court that Yeddyurappa had sought seven days from the Governor to prove his majority in the House.
According to Shah, the alliance between the Congress and the JD(S) is “unholy”. He said reports that the BJP tried to offer money to MLAs were incorrect, and a ploy to “influence” the Supreme Court. The BJP, he said, had accepted the Supreme Court verdict.