File photos of JD(S)'s HD Kumaraswamy (left) and BJP's Yeddyurappa. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
The JD(S)'s HD Kumaraswamy met Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala Tuesday evening, and staked his claim to forming a government in the state.
Kumaraswamy was accompanied by the Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah.
The Congress told Vala that it was offering the JD(S) unconditional support.
The JD(S) has won fewer seats than both the Congress and BJP but the Congress offered it its support earlier in the day, telling the JD(S) that it could pick a chief minister of its choice.
Kumaraswamy decided to opt for the post himself.
Baiju Narajan of the JD(S) meanwhile said the Congress's G Parameshwara would be the deputy chief minister.
The two parties, should they be invited by Governor Vala to do so, will now form a coalition government in the state.
Karnataka has a total of 224 assembly seats, but only 222 seats went to the polls this election. (Voting was postponed in two seats.)
The halfway mark then is 111 seats, with a party needing 112 seats for a simple majority.
Official EC trends at the moment say the BJP has won or is leading in 104 seats, the Congress in 78, the JD(S)+ in 37, and Others 3.
That would give the JD(S)-Congress combine a total of 115 seats.
The BJP by itself on the other hand is short of 9 seats.
But the race for Karnataka is far from over.
The BJP's chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa got to the Raj Bhavan just before Kumaraswamy.
"Just now we met governor because we are single largest party, and that he allows us to prove majority in the Assembly," Yeddyurappa said after meeting Vala.
On his way to meeting the governor, Yeddyurappa said "100 per cent we will form the government."
All eyes then are now on Governor Vala.
Vala can now call either the JD(S)-Congress combine to form a government, or the BJP, which has emerged as the single-largest party — whichever combine/ party he thinks will provide the state with a stable government.
Remember that in both Goa and Manipur, where elections were held in 2017, the Congress had emerged as the single-largest party. But the BJP ended up forming coalition governments in both states because the Congress was not able to muster up the needed numbers.
A Zee News report quoting sources though said Tuesday evening that the governor may first invite BJP's Yeddyurappa to form a government in Karnataka and that the oath-taking ceremony is likely to take place on May 17.