As the BJP and its chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa raced to Karnataka governor’s office to claim the invite to form the government in the state, the Congress underlined that Governor Vajubhai Vala could only invite the Congress-JD(S) combine which had a “clear majority” to form the government.
The Congress backed up its claim, pointing to the governor’s invite to the BJP in Goa, Meghalaya and Manipur in 2017.
To justify its point, the Congress also pulled out Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s tweet from 2017 where he had argued that the combination with majority support should get the first shot at power, not the largest single party.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted a screenshot of Arun Jaitley’s old tweets, saying governors appointed by the BJP “didn’t invite the single largest party” in Goa, Manipur or Meghalaya. “Union ministers gave arguments supporting them. The precedent is there to follow, right?” he tweeted.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi put out a news item on the blog that Jaitley had written after Goa, saying what was “constitutionally the right thing to do” in Goa should apply in Karnataka too.
But the Congress or the opposition parties weren’t the only ones digging out old tweets to push forward their point. BJP’s Amit Malviya put out Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweets from 2017 that cited Supreme Court judgments to argue that the largest single party should get the invite.
In the Supreme Court and outside, the Congress had then argued that the Goa governor should handover the invite to form the government to the single largest party and not a post-poll alliance led by the BJP.
BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have not spoken on the BJP’s claim to form the government but only congratulated party workers in Karnataka for working hard for the unprecedented victory.
The BJP had emerged as the single largest party but at last count, was still short of majority by eight seats. The Congress, with 78 seats in its bag, moved quickly and gave HD Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) its “unconditional” support to block the BJP from coming to power.
Talking to the media after their meeting with Governor Vajubhai Vala on Tuesday, the BJP delegation led by Yeddyurappa said his party should be given the opportunity to form the government because it was the single largest party. He also ran down the Congress tying up with the JDS, calling it “backdoor politics” when the mandate was clearly for the BJP.
The claim is at variance with the stand that the BJP and senior minister Arun Jaitley had taken in 2017.
In a Facebook post last year debunking the Congress claim that the BJP had stolen the mandate, Jaitley had blamed the Congress of complaining “a bit too much”, arguing that it was obvious that post-poll alliances would be formed if the election threw up an “inconclusive verdict”.