BJP stakes claim to form government in Karnataka (Night Lead)

May 27th, 2008 - 1:08 am ICT by admin  

Bangalore, May 26 (IANS) A jubilant Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) late Monday formally staked claim to form the government in Karnataka, its first in southern India, with the support of five independents. BJP’s chief minister-nominee B.S. Yeddyurappa met Governor Rameshwar Thakur along with the five independents who pledged support to his party for forming the new government.

This is the second time the BJP would be cobbling together a ministry in Karnataka. The BJP government last year lasted barely a week as the Janata Dal-Secular broke off the alliance before Yeddyurappa could face confidence vote in the assembly.

“I have submitted documents to Thakur in support of our claim to form the government. I have also handed over to the governor affidavits of the five independents, pledging unconditional support to our party,” Yeddyurappa told reporters emerging out of Raj Bhavan after a 30-minute meeting with Thakur.

The five independents are Sudhakar D. from Hiriyur constituency, Shivaraj (Kanakagiri), P.M. Narendra Swamy (Malavalli), G.D. Shekar (Hosadurga) and Venkataramanappa (Pavagada).

Six independents were elected to the 225-member assembly. The sixth independent Varthur Prakash declined to support the BJP. He contested as a Congress rebel and won from Kolar, about 90 km from Bangalore.

All the five independents were presented before Thakur with their individual letters of support.

The support of five independents will enable the BJP to cross the magic figure of 113 for a working majority in the lower house with the party’s 110 elected members.

“The governor assured us he will send his report to the central government Tuesday, conveying his satisfaction with our claim. He will also recommend revocation of the President’s rule to pave way for the new government,” a beaming Yeddyurappa said.

Earlier, all the 110 BJP legislators unanimously elected Yeddyurappa as the leader of the legislative party in the presence of central observers - vice-president Venkaiah Naidu and general secretary Arun Jaitley, who was in-charge of the party’s campaign in Karnataka.

Yeddyurappa drove to Raj Bhavan along with Jaitley, general secretary Anantha Kumar and state party leader Jagadish Shettiar.

Expressing confidence of forming the first BJP government in South India, Yeddyurappa said in the event of a trust-vote, he would prove majority on the floor of the assembly.

“We are waiting for a formal invitation from Thakur to form the government. We hope to take oath May 28 when the state assembly will be notified by the election commission and constituted by the governor,” Yeddyurappa noted.

In the 225-member assembly, one member is nominated by the governor after the new government is formed.

Election to the state assembly was held a year in advance in three phases this month (May 10, 16 and 22) after a spell of president’s rule since November 2007.

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