New Delhi: With the JD(S)-Congress alliance set to come to power in Karnataka, BJP president Amit Shah on Monday asserted that such a government will be a “betrayal” of people’s mandate and questioned its fate, saying it is already “destabilised” with the two parties forced to keep their MLAs “locked in hotels” undemocratically.
Addressing a press conference, Shah also mocked the Congress for its celebration at the turn of events in Karnataka, saying it has found a new way of discovering win in its defeat and added that he prayed that it sticks to its definition of victory. The BJP then would have no problem in winning the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he said.
Describing the Congress-JD(S) alliance as “unholy”, he said the HD Deve Gowda’s party fought the election on an anti-Congress plank and benefited from people’s mood against the incumbent party in the state.
Amid criticism of the BJP for forming government despite lacking a majority, Shah defended the decision, saying people’s mandate was against the Congress and being the largest party with only seven seats short of the required support of 111 MLAs, the BJP had to go with the popular verdict.
In the absence of a clear majority and when fresh polls is not an option, if they had not staked claim, it would be against the popular mandate, he said, claiming that people had made the BJP winner in this election.
“You should also ask Rahul Gandhi (Congress president) why he has kept MLAs in hotels. They are still there,” he quipped.
If the Congress and the JD(S) had not “locked up” their MLAs in hotels and allowed them to interact with their voters, then people would have told them where they have to vote, Shah said, suggesting that the BJP government would have survived then.
“People of Karnataka are not celebrating, the Congress and the JD(S) are. Why is the Congress celebrating? Because the number of their MLAs has come down from 122 to 78, or because over half of its ministers lost, or is this because it has been not been reduced to PPP (Puducherry-Punjab-Parivar)?” Shah asked.
The JD(S) lost deposits of its candidates in over 80% of seats, he said.
He also rejected opposition’s criticism that the BJP formed governments in states like Goa and Manipur despite not being the single largest party, saying the Congress- which had most MLAs in the two states- never staked claim to form government there.
He also rejected charges of horse-trading, saying if that was the case, then the Yeddyurappa government would not have fallen and noted that even Congress leaders, including an MLA, have said that these were “forged” claims. It was done to influence the case in the Supreme Court, he said, and asked why no question was raised when the Congress sold the “entire stable”.
The apex court had on Friday slashed the 15-day period given to Yeddyurappa by the governor to prove his majority to two days, dashing the BJP’s hopes of reaching out to MLAs of rival parties for gaining their support.
Asked about the court’s decision, he said the BJP always respects the judiciary and added wryly that it would not think about impeachment of judges like the Congress for some decision.
In a jibe at the Congress, he said one “good” outcome of the Karnataka verdict has been that the party’s respect for institutions like the Supreme Court and Election Commission besides Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) has increased.
“I hope the Congress finds them good when it loses the coming elections and it does not bring impeachment motion if it does not like a Supreme Court judgement,” he said.
Asked about the fate of the alliance government, he said people will certainly question their MLAs when they come out of hotels as their vote was against the Congress but added that he is not an astrologer who can predict its future.
The BJP will play the role of a constructive opposition, he said, adding that it will respond to any changed political situation when it arises.
To a question, he said the alliance is already destabilised and that is why their MLAs are locked in hotels.
The two parties have not allowed their legislators to even take out victory processions, he said with a smile, adding that there is no need for his party to destabilise the already unstable alliance.
Shah recalled the bitter campaign the Congress and the JD(S) had run against each other during the campaign, with the former calling the latter JD(Sangh). The BJP later distributed copies of the reported comments made by the main leaders of the two parties attacking each another.
He also claimed that the Congress lawyer lied in the Supreme Court that Yeddyurappa had sought seven days time from the Governor to prove majority in the House.
The BJP’s win in Karnataka showed that the “vijay rath” (victory march) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached south India and that people in the state voted for his good governance like the rest of the country, Shah stressed.