BJP strategy: To force abstentions on D-Day

The BJP’s strategy hinges on getting as many MLAs as it can from the opposition camp to abstain from voting in the floor test which will then be decided on the strength of the house on the given day.

The BJP with 104 MLAs is eight short of the majority mark. It hopes to get the support of one independent but there are reports that it may lose one MLA to the Congress-Janata Dal (S) combine.

The BJP also claimed that many JD(S) and Congress MLAs were willing to switch loyalty. The BJP has ample time to prove majority as the governor has given two weeks for the floor test. Its strategy is to either make some rival MLAs resign or abstain to avoid the anti-defection law – it requires a two-third split in a party to be a legal defection.

All the parties are chasing the magic number of 112 in the 222-member house. With some MLAs abstaining or resigning, the halfway mark will come down, making it easy for the BJP to pass the floor test.

The JD(S) has already made a sensational claim that the BJP was offering Rs 100 crore to its MLAs. The Congress and the Janata Dal (S) has claimed support of 117 MLAs.

The BJP backed the governor’s decision to invite the single largest party to form the government. Citing Sarkaria Commission and MM Punchhi commission recommendations, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad explained the options before the governor.

Prasad said that the two commissions clearly said that first preference would be given to a pre-poll alliance, second to the single largest party and the third to the post-poll alliance. He said that the recommendations of the two commissions were endorsed by a constitution bench of the Supreme Court in 2016.

He also said that the governor has the discretionary powers in this regard which has also been endorsed by the Supreme Court which has only ensured that there is no arbitrary use of this discretion.

Gautam Datt