BJP claims support of independents to form government

May 26th, 2008 - 4:09 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

Bangalore, May 26 (IANS) An upbeat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday claimed the support of at least three independents to reach the halfway mark in the 225-member legislative assembly for a working majority and to form its first government in Karnataka - and southern India. “We are in touch with a couple of independents. For instance, Shivaraj, elected from Kanakagiri as an independent, has pledged support to us. He was with the BJP but contested as a rebel candidate. Similarly, we have approached two more independents — D. Sudhakar from Hiriyur and D. Shekar from Hosadurga for their support. The response is positive,” a party leader told IANS.

Although the BJP emerged victorious in the assembly election with 110 members winning, it is short of three members to reach the magic figure of 113 for a simple majority. The party hopes to rope in as many of the six independents elected to the house.

“The newly elected legislators have elected (B.S.) Yeddyurappa as leader of the BJP legislature party. We are going to Raj Bhavan later in the day to formally stake claim to form the next government. We hope Governor Rameshwar Thakur will invite our leader to form the government by May 28,” the leader said.

In the absence of a clear majority in the assembly, the party plans to let Yeddyurappa take oath first and expand the cabinet after winning the trust vote on the floor of the house.

It is also thinking of swearing a couple of senior leaders along with Yeddyurappa and take up the ministry expansion later.

Meanwhile, two other independents - Varthur Prakash from Kolar and P.M. Narendra Swamy from Malavalli — have sought the chief minister’s post for Congress leader and former deputy chief minister Siddaramaiah for their support. Both the independents contested the election after they were denied Congress ticket.

In the election held in three phases this month, the Congress won 80 seats and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) 28. The six remaining seats went to independents.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Samajwadi Party and the Janata Dal-United did not win a single seat.

In a related development, JD-S chief and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda is reported to have offered unconditional support to the Congress for forming a coalition government.

Congress sources, however, said the party had refused to take JD-S support as the mandate was for BJP.

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