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Amit Shah blames SC intervention, Congress-JD(S) 'unholy' alliance for Karnataka setback

Anurag Dey | Updated on: 21 May 2018, 21:53 IST

BJP president Amit Shah believes that had the Supreme Court not ordered immediate floor test and the Congress and JD(S) not kept their MLAs away, BJP could well have crunched the requisite numbers and formed the government in Karnataka.

Amid the allegations of horse trading against the Shah on Monday admitted that had BJP got the 15-days’ time originally granted by Governor Vajubhai Vala, the scenario in the southern state would have been vastly different.

Two days after BJP Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa exited, conceding defeat ahead of the floor test, Shah held a media conference in the national capital where he stoutly defended the decision to bid for government formation in Karnataka.

Shah also tried to claim moral victory asserting the popular mandate was with the BJP and not with the “unholy alliance” of Congress –JD(S).

“As regards the 15 days’ time, I firmly believe that if the MLAs were not locked up and allowed to meet with the people, things would have been different,” said Shah to a query on the possibilities if the apex court had not curtailed the 15 days window.

Asked to comment on charges of horse trading against the BJP, Shah said: “We never believe in horse-trading. Congress should answer what they did with MLAs by locking them in a five-star hotel”.

Following a petition by Congress and JD(S) MLAs, a SC bench on 18 May had ordered the floor test be conducted on 19 May thereby curtailing the half month time given to the BJP which had emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats but could not reach the half-way mark in the 224 member Assembly.

Despite brazenly deploying all underhand tricks, the BJP was forced to sit out of power with Yeddyurappa's resigning obviating the need for a floor test.

His resignation paved the way for the JD(S)-Congress coalition led by former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to form the new government.

But Shah refused to concede defeat.

“The people of Karnataka gave us the mandate. It is an anti-Congress mandate; there should be no confusion about it.

“Nobody got the majority but does that mean we go for reelection? BJP was the single largest party, hence we staked the claim. If we hadn’t done that it would have been against the people’s mandate,” said Shah.

He also contested the argument that the Congress was not given the opportunity to form the government in Goa and Manipur despite emerging as the single largest party in both the states.

“They often cite the examples of Manipur and Goa. But I want to make it clear that in both the states, Congress did not stake claim. The Governor invited us only after the Congress did not stake claim in both the states,” claimed Shah.

Continuing to attack Congress, Shah wondered what the party was celebrating about.

“Despite losing seats, more than half of their ministers losing including their chief minister, the Congress is celebrating victory.

“Wonder what the Congress is celebrating about. Are they celebrating being reduced to PPP - Punjab, Puducherry, Parivaar party,” said Shah referring to a jibe by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the Congress.

“The JD(S)’ entire campaign was focused on anti-Congress. Their mandate too is anti-Congress, how can they now join hands. This is unholy alliance,” said Shah who also handed out a collection of CM designate HD Kumaraswamy’s comments against the Congress as reported by the media.

Shah also took potshots over Congress not complaining either about the EVM hacking or the judiciary being influenced by the BJP.

“Amid all this what is good to see is that Congress seems to have regained its trust on constitutional bodies like Supreme Court and Election Commission. They have even now have faith in the EVMs. It is good sign. I hope this trust, this faith is intact even when they are losing,” he added with a chuckle.

He also claimed that the Congress lawyer lied in the Supreme Court that Yeddyurappa had sought seven days’ time from the Governor to prove majority in the House.

First published: 21 May 2018, 21:53 IST