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Karnataka Elections: BJP down, Congress second fiddle, Opposition counts gains

Apart from stopping the BJP juggernaut, parties such as the BSP, Samajwadi Party, TDP and Trinamool Congress see the Congress willingness to pay second fiddle to the JD(S) in the state as a positive development on way to 2019.

Written by Lalmani Verma | New Delhi | Updated: May 20, 2018 9:32:01 am
Karnataka Elections: BJP down, Congress second fiddle, Opposition counts gains TMC leader and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, BSP supremo Mayawati and TDP leader and Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu. (File Photos)

Faced with a growing BJP, Opposition leaders across party lines welcomed the developments in Karnataka Saturday. Apart from stopping the BJP juggernaut, parties such as the BSP, Samajwadi Party, TDP and Trinamool Congress see the Congress willingness to pay second fiddle to the JD(S) in the state as a positive development on way to 2019.

There were indications that several Opposition leaders would attend the swearing-in of the JD(S)-Congress government, with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeting that she had been invited.

BSP chief Mayawati, whose party fought the Karnataka polls in alliance with the JD(S) and won one seat, Kollegal, said the entire Opposition had remained united to foil the BJP designs in the state. Addressing the media after the BJP conceded defeat before the trust vote in Karnataka, she accused the Narendra Modi government of misusing government machinery to “capture power in states despite being in minority”. The party had failed to do in Karnataka “because of Opposition unity”, Mayawati said, adding that this might prompt the BJP to change its strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. She did not spell out what that change would be.

Also read | Rahul Gandhi identifies takeaway: Opposition will work in coordination to defeat BJP

The BSP chief also thanked the Supreme Court “for taking a firm stand” during the Karnataka crisis. Alleging that governors appointed by the Modi government were under pressure, she said, “They should resign if not able to function freely.”

Going one step further, SP president Akhilesh Yadav sought resignation of the Modi government “on moral grounds”. He tweeted: “It is a day of win of public mandate over money power in Indian politics. Those who think they could buy anyone, they have got a lesson today that there are still people who do not take politics as business.”

Addressing a press conference at Khajuraho, Akhilesh also hailed the Supreme Court for its role in the Karnataka crisis, saying it had protected democracy.

Mamata Banerjee tweeted to say that the fall of the short-lived BJP government in Karnataka was “a victory of the regional front and democracy”. The use of words by the Trinamool Congress leader was significant, hinting at a federal outfit instead of a broad grouping anchored by the Congress. Mamata has of late been trying to put together such a front, reaching out to her Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana counterparts.

TDP president and former BJP ally N Chandrababu Naidu’s office issued a statement on his behalf, calling the Karnataka developments “a victory of democracy”. “As a chief minister and as someone who believes in democracy, I am welcoming this. Everyone in the country will be happy about this development,” the Andhra Pradesh CM said.

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Naidu, who was said to have helped the Congress and JD(S) in the recent elections, added, “(The) Prime Minister and BJP national president have tried to deride democracy… What message have the Prime Minister and BJP president combine given to the nation by encouraging the corrupt? What is the message they are giving to the youth?”

Drawing a parallel with Tamil Nadu, where the DMK has accused the BJP of propping up the AIADMK government, Naidu said, “The BJP brought back Gali Janardhan Reddy who looted the mineral wealth of the country to the forefront and did politics… On the lines of Tamil Nadu, they tried to misuse the institution of the governor in Karnataka too.”

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav tweeted: “Truth can never be defeated! Truth will always defeat a lie or liar!” Tejashwi had led a delegation of the RJD, Congress, CPI-ML and HAM leaders to Bihar Raj Bhavan Friday to ask Governor Satya Pal Malik to invite them to form a government in the state as the RJD, like the BJP in Karnataka, was the single largest party.

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