When the counting of votes began for the Karnataka assembly election 2018, initially it seemed to be a cut throat between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Then, by afternoon, almost all estimates indicated towards a BJP majority, so much so that some BJP leaders started lecturing equally over-enthusiastic and over-apologetic anchors about how their exit polls got it all wrong and so did majority of exit polls which had predicted a hung assembly. But by evening it became clear that though BJP would emerge as the single largest party, it will fall short of the majority mark. And this opens up the possibility of either the BJP or Congress forming a government with the help of JD(S).
The Congress with 78 seats can't form a government either. And JD(S) as expected is in the king maker's position with their very own Kumaraswamy looking to be the chief minister after Congress approached it for forming a government and willing to make him the chief ministerial candidate. Here is what could happen from here:
Congress- JD(S) Government: Congress, the second largest party, approaches JD(S) which has the 37 seats that right now are worth a lot more than what they look. The Congress will make all attempts at ensuring that it does not lose Karnataka as that will reduce them to just two states namely- Punjab and Puducherry. The Congress has already offered the chief minister's post to JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy and it has been accepted. The Congress with JD(S)'s help forming a government at the state is the most likely situation.
BJP Government: The BJP has emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats. However, they are short of majority but as the single largest party, the BJP and its chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa would want to prove majority in the house. In that case, Yeddyurappa will first have to be sworn in and then prove the majority in the house. The BJP will desperately try to get a few winning candidates from JD(S) and independents or others- 3 seats, on their side. The party high command is already in action to ensure that they are able to make it to the magic figure of 112 that would give them the majority required. BJP forming a government alone with some outside support is a second possibility.
BJP- JD(S) Government: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while he was campaigning for the Karnataka assembly elections, in a rally had accused Congress of not respecting a leader of Deve Gowda's stature. Many political pundits had called it the Prime Minister's foresight who perhaps knew well that if BJP fell short, the JD(S) could provide the necessary seats. However, the JD(S) is reported to have accepted Congress' invite to join them and form the government. The BJP will definitely try and reach out to JD(S) on the pretext that their combine would form a much stronger (numerically) and stable alliance.
BS Yeddyurappa is BJP's declared CM nominee and how would BJP lure JD(S) will be interesting to see in case the saffron party fails to muster up the required seats for majority. But will Kumaraswamy be happy with the deputy CM's post with BJP, when he has already been ensured of the Chief Minister's post by Congress is the question that BJP will have to find an answer to. This has been a riveting election and the show is still not over even after the results have been declared. As political experts will observe, the show has just begun.