Congress-JD(S) will give stable govt in Karnataka, says HD Kumaraswamy

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy
Karnataka government formation: The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine will give a stable government in Karnataka and the modalities of its formation will be worked out after meeting UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy said on Monday.

Kumaraswamy, who will take over as chief minister of Karnataka on May 23, is in the national capital to meet the Congress leadership and work out modalities of government formation in Karnataka.

He earlier met Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati here and discussed plans of putting in place a Congress-JD(S) government.

The JD(S) contested the Karnataka election in a pre-poll alliance and later had a post-poll tie-up with the Congress.

"We are going to give a stable government. All these issues are not yet discussed. We have not discussed any future course of action”. "The modalities of formation of the new government will be discussed after meeting Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi," he told reporters.

Congress-JD(S) formed 'unholy alliance' against people's mandate: Amit Shah

Terming the alliance of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S) as "'unholy", Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah on Monday said both the parties joined hands to come to power in Karnataka against the people's mandate.

Shah, while addressing the media for the first time after their party leader B. S. Yeddyurappa announced his resignation ahead of the floor test in Karnataka, said the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the assembly polls, which clearly shows that the people's mandate was anti-Congress.

"The Congress crossed all limits in Karnataka assembly elections. The JD(S) formed an alliance with the Congress against the people's mandate. This is an 'unholy alliance'," Shah said.

Further taking a jibe at the Congress-JD(S) alliance the BJP chief said the parties are celebrating for losing seats in Karnataka assembly polls.

"What is the Congress celebrating? More than half of their ministers lost, Chief Minister lost from one seat. Similarly, why is JDS celebrating, for getting 37 seats?" Shah said.

The BJP chief said they made corruption, women harassment and atrocities against Dalits as their election agenda, which was avoided by the Congress party during their tenure in the state.

He said after the Karnataka assembly polls, it seems like Congress' faith on the EVM and the Election Commission have been restored.

"Now the Congress likes EVM and the Election Commission. It's a good sign that opposition now likes both of them even after what they have in hand is an incomplete victory. All I can say is hopefully they like EVM and Election Commission even when they lose and abide by the Supreme Court's order," Shah said.

"Congress party with a history of dismissing more than 50 governments by abusing Article 356 has no moral right to preach us on democracy," he said.

The BJP chief even hit out at the Congress on their horse-trading allegation and said that they never believed in the concept of poaching any other parties leaders.

In returned he questioned the Congress party for locking their MLAs in hotel before the floor test.

"We were accused of horse-trading their MLAs. We never believe in horse-trading. Congress should answer what they did with MLAs by locking them in a five-star hotel. We had the right, so we claimed to form the government," he said.

When questioned about the Congress-JD(S) alliance, Shah said that "both have conned people" and will come to know about the "pros and cons of this unholy alliance" later.

Talking about the 2019 General election, Shah expressed confidence in forming the government with absolute majority.
Commenting on Goa and Manipur Assembly polls, Shah said the Congress despite being the single largest party in the two states had not staked claims, so the Governor had invited them to form  the government.

Kumaraswamy meets Mayawati ahead of oath ceremony

Karnataka Chief Minister-designate HD Kumaraswamy on Monday met Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati at her residence in the national capital and invited her for his oath ceremony on Wednesday in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Kumaraswamy invited Mayawati for the swearing-in ceremony with a bouquet.

Later in the day, Kumaraswamy is expected to meet Congress President Rahul Gandhi. The two will discuss about the future of the Congress-JD-(S) alliance in Karnataka.

"Ashok Gehlot, KC Venugopal and I briefed Rahul Gandhi on recent political developments in Karnataka. When Kumaraswamy meets Rahul, they will decide on further strategy," said senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.

On Saturday, Kumaraswamy was invited by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala to form the government in the state, after Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) B.S. Yeddyurappa stepped down ahead of the floor test in the state assembly.

While Kumaraswamy was earlier expected to swear-in as Karnataka Chief Minister on Monday, the ceremony later got pushed to May 23 due to the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi today.

Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president, Chandrababu Naidu is also expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Kumaraswamy.

Karnataka politics, oil prices depress equity market

The formation of a non-BJP government in Karnataka, along with weakness in global indices and rising crude oil prices, pulled the key Indian equity indices to close in the negative territory for the fifth consecutive session on Monday

According to market observers, a weak rupee against the US dollar also dampened the sentiments.

After opening on a flat note, the key indices rose during the early trade session but were unable to hold on to the gains for long.

Index-wise, the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed at 10,516.70 points, down 79.70 points or 0.75 per cent from the previous close of 10,596.40 points.

Similarly, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE settled in the red. It had opened at 34,873.16 points, closed at 34,616.13 points -- down 232.17 points or 0.67 per cent -- from its previous session's close of 34,848.30 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 34,973.95 and a low of 34,593.82 points.

Broader markets like the S&P BSE mid-cap index ended 1.64 per cent lower, while S&P BSE small-cap plunged 2.2 per cent. The overall BSE market breadth was bearish with 2,003 declines against 653 advances.

"Sentiments were weak due to the political situation in Karnataka. Private banks, realty and pharma stocks came under selling pressure," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research at HDFC Securities.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened by 12 paise against the US dollar to 68.13, from its previous close at 68.01 per greenback.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE IT, oil and gas and Teck (Technology, Media and Entertainment) indices posted marginal gains, up by only 18.77 points, 13.74 points and 4.72 points respectively.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE auto index fell the most, by 467.06 points, followed by the consumer durables index, which slumped by 445.98 points and the healthcare index that fell by 331.91 points.

The major gainers on the Sensex were State Bank of India (SBI), up 2.47 per cent at Rs 245.10; Tata Consultancy Services, up 1.59 per cent at Rs 3,557.95; Coal India, up 1.26 per cent at Rs 269.75; ICICI Bank, up 1.1 per cent at Rs 289.65; and ONGC, up 0.43 per cent at Rs 185.85 per share.

The top losers were Sun Pharma, down 4.50 per cent at Rs 443.80; Dr. Reddy's Lab, down 4.23 per cent at Rs 1,894.35; Yes Bank, down 3.27 per cent at Rs 334.15; Tata Motors, down 2.85 per cent at Rs 296.55; and Tata Motors (DVR), down 2.69 per cent at Rs 175.45 per share.

Karnataka Congress MLA says audio tape released by his party to frame BJP is 'fake'

In a development that could leave the Congress red-faced in Karnataka, its MLA Shivaram Hebbar on Monday dismissed as "fake" an audio clip released by the party to allege that the BJP offered money and ministerial berth to him for cross-voting during the floor test in the Assembly.

The Congress had released three audio tapes in run up to the floor test, claiming that the BJP leaders were trying to 'poach' on the party MLAs by offering 'blandishments' so that the BS Yeddyurappa government is saved.

One of the audio tapes released by the party allegedly had conversation between Hebbar's wife and BJP leaders, who allegedly offered money and ministerial post to woo him to vote for the BJP.

However, in a Facebook post in Kanadda, Hebbar today questioned the authenticity of the audio clip, saying her wife did not receive any such call.

"This is not my wife's voice and she has not received any such calls. The audio tape is fake. I condemn it," he wrote.

The Karnataka polls threw up a hung Assembly, with the BJP emerging as the single largest party, but eight short of majority. Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP to form the government and Yeddyurappa was sworn in as chief minister.

As the floor test approached, the Congress alleged that the BJP was indulging in horsetrading and released the audio tapes to back their charges.

In the audio tape in question, B S Yeddyurappa's son BY Vijayendra and his close associate B J Puttuswamy are heard speaking purportedly to Hebbar's wife, offering money and ministerial position to her husband if he cross-voted in favour of the BJP during the floor test.

Vijayendra and Puttuswamy are also heard allegedly offering Rs 15 crore for cross-voting but without a ministerial berth, or Rs 5 crore with a cabinet berth. Puttuswamy is also heard allegedly saying that cases against the wife and the son, who are facing a trial in a mining scam, would be cleared.

Realising that he did not have the numbers, Yeddyurappa had on May 19 announced his decision to quit as chief minister without facing the floor test in an anti-climax to the political drama following the hung verdict in the assembly polls.

Union minister and BJP's Karnataka election in-charge Prakash Javadekar had rubbished the audio tapes as 'fake.'

Javadekar also had accused the Congress for releasing 'fake' audio clips to prevent the BJP from forming government.

Hindu outfit opposes Karnataka Governor's decision to invite Congress-JDS to form govt

The Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala's decision to invite JD (S) leader H D Kumaraswamy to form government, alleging that post-poll alliance of Congress-JD(S) was a "fraud" on the electorate.

On May 19, the apex court had ordered live telecast of the crucial floor test in the Karnataka Assembly to ensure "transparency" and later that evening, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had resigned without facing the trust vote on the floor of the House.

Following his resignation, the Congress-JD (S) combine headed by Kumaraswamy was invited to form government. He is slated to take oath as Chief Minister on May 23.

Elections held on May 12 to 222 of the 224 seats had resulted in a hung assembly with the BJP getting 104 seats, the Congress winning 78 and JD(S) 37. Polling in two seats will be held later.

The Congress-JD(S) combine, a post-poll alliance, claimed the support of 117 MLAs, including one from the BSP, and two others.

The Hindu outfit, in a plea filed through ABHM general secretary Munna Kumar Sharma, has sought quashing of the Governor's decision to appoint Kumaraswamy as the chief minister.

The plea, filed through lawyer Barun Kumar Sinha, has sought a declaration that the post-poll Congress-JD (S) alliance is a "fraud on the electorate and violative of the Constitution ... whereby electorate have been misled and deceived by both the political parties."

"Such fraudulent, opportunist, collusive, tactics between these two political parties have defrauded the electorate of the state of Karnataka which is against the basic structure of the Constitution of India," the plea said.

The plea has claimed that the Governor was bound to consider the concept of popular government in a parliamentary democratic system and the "opportunistic post-poll coalition has to be disregarded by the Governor keeping in view the people's will".

"A political party which has no mandate of the people of Karnataka to form popular government, cannot stake claim with support of another political party who has also been voted out of power by the people of Karnataka," it said.

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