BENGALURU: A day after the cliffhanger of a verdict for assembly elections threw up a fractured mandate, Karnataka witnessed hectic political activity with all three major parties huddling up their MLAs. The Congress called for a meeting with all its victorious candidates, 78 in number, for a Legislative Party (LP) meet, but failed to name an LP leader while the BJP named Yeddyurappa and JD(S) named HD Kumaraswamy respectively.
Recovering from the shock of Wednesday’s verdict and the events that followed suit, many MLAs as well as leaders of the Congress are said to have expressed disappointment during the meeting. The meeting that was scheduled at 9 am saw an inordinate delay with MLAs coming late. Senior leaders of the Congress, including AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, S R Patil, and KPCC chief G Parameshwara were among the first to arrive while other MLAs walked in later. Sources from the party said that there were barely 44 MLAs when the meeting began. While at least 11 MLAs’ absence made room for speculation, all but one — Anand Singh, MLA from Vijayanagara — made it to the party headquarters.
Sources from the party said the Lingayat row and its impact decimating the Congress in many Lingayat-dominant seats, the attitude of leaders, including Siddaramaiah during campaigning, the inability to assess the undercurrent of anti-incumbency were raised during the meeting. The results had taken a toll on the morale of Congress leaders which was evident in the meeting.
The Congress has extended support to the JD(S) that has only 37 seats. While the prospects are not acceptable to many within the party, Congress appealed to its MLAs to work together and stay united during the meet. Congress collected the signatures of its MLAs to submit a letter to the Governor extending support to JD(S). At 3.30 pm, the party had 65 signatures, but the same rose to 79 by 5.15 pm when a representation to the Governor was made.