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Karnataka election: BJP seeks to win over rivals’ Lingayat MLAs to form govt | India News

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NEW DELHI: With Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala inviting BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa to take oath as chief minister, the saffron party is looking for support from Lingayat MLAs in rival camps who could be unhappy at the Congress-JD(S) alliance that seeks to catapult H D Kumaraswamy, a Vokkaliga, as CM.

There are about a dozen Lingayat MLAs in Congress and JD(S) who could rally around to backing Yeddyurappa, considered the tallest politician from the community. The community supported BJP, largely rejecting Congress’s move to offer religious minority status to Lingayats, choosing instead to back their leader for the CM post.

Vokkaligas and Lingayats have been politically divided ever since Kumaraswamy’s refusal to relinquish the CM’s chair in 2007 and honour a tenure-sharing deal with BJP.

BJP is also looking at some three-four other MLAs to garner the required numbers, and this would mean the legislators who have been wooed could be asked to vote in favour Yeddyurappa in a trust vote.

BJP is arguing that the mandate was against Congress while JD(S) was a distant third. Party leaders have made it clear that falling just eight seats short would not prevent it from forming a government after BJP registered a gain of 60-plus seats. They recalled how the BJP government in Gujarat was toppled in 1996 and Shankersinh Vaghela became CM but he could not survive for long. “Congress should understand the mandate of the people and respect it,” law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. He slammed outgoing CM Siddaramaiah for accusing PM of encouraging horse trading in the state.

Updated: May 17, 2018 — 12:37 am

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