Bengaluru: Jockeying for power has begun in Karnataka after the fractured verdict in the Assembly polls, with contenders BJP and JD(S)-Congress combine today intensifying efforts to outmanoeuvre each other in the race for forming the government.
The newly elected MLAs of the BJP, which emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats in the 224-member House, chose B S Yeddyurappa as their leader.
Immediately thereafter, Yeddyurappa made a dash for Raj Bhavan and staked claim to form the government.
"I requested Governor Vajubhai Vala to allow me to take oath as early as possible. We are 100 per cent confident that he will take a decision immediately," he later told journalists.
H D Kumaraswamy, who has emerged the dark horse in the three-horse race with just 37 MLAs, was formally elected the leader of the JD(S) legislature party, and claimed attempts were being made by the BJP to "bribe" its way to power through "horsetrading".
"Our MLAs were offered Rs 100 crore by the BJP to break away. I want to know whether this is black or white money," he told a press conference.
"The JD(S)-Congress combine has 116 MLAs (including JD(S) pre-poll ally the BSP)...the BJP is trying to misuse its power being at the Centre and form its government through horsetrading," he said.
Kumaraswamy said though which party to invite first is the prerogative of the governor, "without the numbers how can they (BJP) form the government".
Replying to a question, he rejected outright the possibility of forming a coalition government with the BJP.
"I am going to meet the governor with the state Congress president and formally stake claim to form the government," he said.
Calling himself a "free man", Kumaraswamy, a former chief minister, said he was not worried about any development that could stall efforts to form a coalition dispensation with the Congress.
He said the Congress had extended unconditional support to the JD(S) for forming the government and "we will provide a stable rule for full five years".
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also cried foul and alleged the BJP was trying to split its newly elected MLAs, but asserted it would fail in the endeavour.
"It is the 6th state where they (BJP) are trying to break Congress MLAs, but they will not succeed," he said.
The Congress has 78 MLAs in the new Assembly, which is yet to be formally constituted.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar had said an attempt was being made to create "unnatural tension".
"People are with us," he said.
Senior BJP leaders Suresh Kumar and K S Eshwarappa also said they were confident the party would form the government.
Eshwarappa, a BJP veteran, claimed several MLAs in the Congress and JD(S) were unhappy about the alliance and were likely to break away from their parties.
Polling was held for 222 of the state's 224 Assembly seats following deferment of voting for the R R Nagar constituency over allegations of vitiation of the electoral process, and countermanding of election for the Jayanagar seat due to the death of the BJP candidate.