Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who was sworn-in on Wednesday, won the floor test on Friday afternoon amid a walkout from the BJP. Prior to Kumaraswamy, BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa was invited to form the government, who had resigned minutes before his floor test on Saturday.
The Congress has 78 MLAs, Kumaraswamy’s JD(S) has 36, and BSP 1. The alliance has also claimed support of the lone KPJP MLA and an independent. While the BJP, which has 104 MLAs, staged a walkout just before the floor test.
Before the floor test, senior BJP leader S Suresh Kumar, a fifth term MLA, had withdrawn from the contest for the post of the Assembly Speaker. Ramesh Kumar of Congress has been elected to the post of the Speaker.
The 224-member Assembly has an effective strength of 221, as election for Jayanagar seat was countermanded following the death of the BJP candidate, and deferred in RR Nagar over allegations of electoral malpractices. Given Kumaraswamy had contested and won from two seats, he has to vacate one seat.
Earlier, after taking his oath, Kumaraswamy had voiced confidence about winning the floor test. Congress Legislature Party leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah too had exuded confidence about the coalition candidate’s victory.
Though Kumaraswamy will likely have a smooth sailing during the confidence vote, expanding the Cabinet may be a tough call for him.
Senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar, who was widely credited with having kept the flock of party MLAs together amid claims of attempted poaching by the BJP, is reportedly not happy after being ignored for the deputy chief minister’s post that went to the party’s Dalit face G Parameshwara.
“Is it the same for those who win one seat and those who win the state? I have not come to politics to take sanyas. I will play chess not football,” Shivakumar had said.
Parameshwara also said the coalition was yet to disuss the tenure of the JD(S) leader as the chief minister.
“We have not yet discussed those modalities,” he said in response to a question about whether Kumaraswamy will be the chief minister for full five years.
“We are also yet to decide on what portfolios have to go to them and what should be with us….then five-year term, whether they should be or we should also,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)