See More on Facebook


Drama far from over in India’s Karnataka after polls

Supreme Court orders one-day-old Karnataka chief minister to prove majority on May 19.

Written by

Updated: May 18, 2018

The battle for Karnataka that was played out on May 12 – when voters sealed the fate of political parties in this southern Indian state – is far from over.

Though officially BS Yeddyurappa from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was sworn in as the new chief minister on May 17, he has to face a floor test in the state assembly on May 19 to prove his majority.

The battle for Karnataka is crucial as it comes ahead of India’s 2019 general elections.

Though political pundits had predicted a hotly contested election in the state – with the BJP and the Congress as the main players – the unfolding of events in the state is unprecedented.

Following the results on May 15, the BJP won 104 seats, Congress 78 and a regional party Janata Dal (Secular) 37 in the 222 seats that went to polls. With none of the parties securing a clear majority, both the BJP and the Congress staked a claim to form a government.

While the BJP emerged as the single largest party, it fell short of a clear majority. The Congress, with an after-poll alliance with the JD(S), bagged enough seats to form a government. The decision to invite either of the parties to form the government lay with the state Governor, Vajubhai Vala. He decided to give the BJP a chance.

However, the Congress and JD(S) challenged the Governor’s move in the Supreme Court. The apex court, in a second-ever pre-dawn hearing, declined to stall the Governor’s order, but asked the one-day old B S Yeddyurappa government to prove its majority in a floor test.

In a tweet, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said: “Today’s Supreme Court order, vindicates our stand that Governor Vala acted unconstitutionally. The BJP’s bluff that it will form the Govt., even without the numbers, has been called out by the court. Stopped legally, they will now try money & muscle, to steal the mandate.”

At the same time, Congress, in a largely symbolic statement, announced it would meet the Governors in Goa and Manipur states – where it could not form governments in spite of emerging the single largest party in elections last year – and stake claim afresh.

Congress and JD(S) are nervous that the BJP will woo their newly elected legislators by getting them to resign or abstain from voting in a floor test. Therefore, it has moved its lawmakers from Bengaluru to Hyderabad, the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state’s capital. The lawmakers spent May 16-17 in two different hotels in Bengaluru.

The move to sequester the the 100-odd lawmakers of Congress-JDS was taken to prevent the BJP from luring them as soon as it became clear that Governor Vajubhai Vala was going to invite BS Yeddyurappa to form government, NDTV reported.

Both the Congress Party and the BJP had campaigned hard to win this territory, home to the Lingayats and the Vokkaligas, two dominant castes accounting for 27 percent of the state’s population, who can turn the poll results around. So far, Karnataka has had five chief ministers from the Vokkaliga community, and seven from among the Lingayat community.

Rahul Gandhi spearheaded a high-decibel campaign, holding as many as 20 meetings, across the state. His mother Sonia Gandhi, who was the Congress chief for the longest period, also addressed an election rally in Karnataka, a first in over two years.

The current elections are being seen as a preview for both – the BJP and the Congress – ahead of the crucial 2019 general elections. The year will also see State Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

Lamat R Hasan
About the Author: Lamat is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


North Korea beefs up self-defense capabilities in military reorganization

The North have been making many changes ahead of talks. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a meeting of the top military decision-making body to accelerate the development of self-defense capabilities ahead of key events that will decide its national strategy, its state media reported Sunday. Discussions on ways to bolster its military capabilities through organizational restructuring and personnel reshuffle were highlighted during the third expanded meeting of the seventh central military commission of the ruling Workers’ Party. Details on what measures were discussed were not disclosed. “At the meeting, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un

By Zaffar Abbas
December 23, 2019


India, China step up the wooing but Rajapaksa in no hurry to align Sri Lanka

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will try to balance the competing interests of China, India in the region. The conversation in regional capitals after the emphatic win of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Sri Lankan elections last month centres around a central question: Will he manage to pull a Sheikh Hasina on India and China? The reference, of course, is to the Bangladesh Prime Minister who many believe has managed to successfully push her country’s interests by balancing the competing strategic ambitions of China and India in South Asia. And Rajapaksa knows a thing or two about protecting what he believes are his country’s core interests. After all, he braved the Western world’s intense criticism – and India’s acute discomfort given its large domestic Tamil population – of the means adopted by him as Defence Minister in his brother and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s

By Ishan Joshi
December 12, 2019


Nepal moves up in Human Development Index but still lags behind in South Asia

Nepal’s human development index of 0,579 indicates that people are living longer, are more educated and have greater incomes, according to the Human Development Report. Despite global progress in tackling poverty, hunger and disease, a ‘new generation of inequalities’ indicates that many societies are not working as they should and Nepal is not an exception, according to a new human development report released on Tuesday. The old inequalities were based on access to health services and education whereas the new generation of inequalities is based on technology, education and the climate, according to the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report. “Previously, we talked about wealth as a major driver for inequality. Now, countries like Nepal are in another inequality trap and that concerns

By The Kathmandu Post
December 12, 2019


Is polarisation driven by Hyper Information Disorder Syndrome?

In a study of Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Poland, Turkey and the US, writes ANDREW SHENG, scientists attribute populism to the rise of decisive leaders who push nationalism, demonise opponents and stir up issues that further divide societies. BANGKOK – Mass protests seem to be breaking out all over the place, from Hong Kong to Santiago, Tehran, Bolivia, Catalonia, Ecuador, France and Iraq to Lebanon.  The root causes of these protests have many local reasons, but there are common themes, such as inequality, corruption, incompetent governments, rural-urban migration, demography, anger, social media and demand for change. But underlying all these protests is the growing polarization of societies, increasingly manifested in viol

By Asia News Network
December 9, 2019


Rohingya Crisis Fallout

Transparency International Bangladesh has painted a grim outlook for the crisis. Bangladesh faces long-term financial, political and security challenges as Rohingya repatriation may not happen anytime soon, said Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman. The fund from the international community for nearly one million Rohingyas may not sustain as no strong international initiative has been taken to oblige Myanmar for creating a conducive environment for the refugees to return soon, he said. “As a result, Bangladesh’s socio-economic instability will grow. There are risks of security at local and national levels. The crisis also creates political and diplomatic challenges for the government,” Iftekharuzzaman said. It also involves the risks of growing extremism as the people who face violence are more likely to become violent, he said at a press confere

By Daily Star
December 6, 2019


Pyongyang to hold party meeting ahead of year-end deadline

Kim Jong-un rides up Paektusan again, highlights self-reliance and revolutionary spirit. North Korea will hold a plenary meeting around the end of December to decide on “crucial issues,” its state-run news agency said Wednesday. On the same day, the Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rode up Paektusan on a white horse accompanied by military commanders, raising speculation that the communist regime may take more provocative military actions as the year-end deadline it set for denuclearization talks with the US quickly approaches. North Korea’s Workers’ Party of Korea announced Tuesday that the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the WPK would convene around the end of December, Korea Central News Agency reported, “in order to discuss and decide on crucial issues in line with the needs of the development of the Korean revolution and the chan

By Zaffar Abbas
December 5, 2019