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What are the options before Karnataka Governor?

By Chennabasaveshwar

The assembly elections in Karnataka has reached anti-climax by afternoon. The BJP which leading with highest number of seats fell short of majority mark of 111. On the other hand, Congress though put up a dismal performance, still striving hard to retain power by striking alliance with Janata Dal (Secular). Congress got 76 and JDS 37 seats.

What are the options before Karnataka Governor?

The Congress has formally announced to form alliance with the JDS. However, JDS yet to make its stand clear. If the talks are successful both the parties will approach the Governor to stake a claim to form the government. Given this unexpected political scenario, the final call rests with the Governor.

What options Governor has in such scenario?

The Punchhi Commission has laid down significant guidelines for the appointment of Chief Ministers. And uphold the view that a pre-poll alliance should be treated as one political party; it lays down the order of precedence that ought to be followed by the Governor in case of a hung House:

i) Call the group with the largest pre-poll alliance commanding the largest number;

ii) the single largest party with support of others;

iii) the post-electoral coalition with all parties joining the government; and last

iv) the post-electoral alliance with some parties joining the government and

remaining including Independents supporting from outside.

However, the BJP has set different precedent during Goa and Manipur assembly elections. In Manipur, the BJP had won 21 constituencies and the Congress 28 constituencies out of 60 Constituencies. But BJP managed to form an alliance. In Goa, the BJP had won 13 seats and the Congress won 17 seats out of 40 constituencies. Here also, BJP overtook the Congress to form an alliance.

As a result, the Congress Party protested at the Governor's decision to invite the BJP to form the government in Goa. This triggered a debate about the role of the governor in government formation in the states.

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