Amid the ongoing high-voltage political drama in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke to former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) national president HD Deve Gowda to convey greetings on the occasion of the latter’s birthday. PM Modi informed this through a tweet, triggering speculations in media whether this one phone call can bring an end to the arithmetic equation in Karnataka where the BJP has been flexing its muscle to gain majority in the 224-member House. The BJP has at present 104 MLAs, eight less than the halfway mark needed to prove majority. The JD(S)+ has 38 MLAs while the Congress has 78.
The Congress-JD(S) had contested elections separately but when the results were declared, the two decided to come together and staked the claim to form a government. This led to a drama with all political parties pinning hopes on the Raj Bhavan. The BJP too staked the claim to form a government, arguing the mandate is against the Congress. BS Yeddyurappa, who was appointed as the leader of the BJP legislative party, was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka after the Supreme Court refused a stay on the ceremony following a nightlong hearing. The hearing in the case is set to resume at 10.30 am Friday.
“Spoke to our former Prime Minister Shri HD Deve Gowda Ji and conveyed birthday wishes to him. I pray for his good health and long life,” PM Modi’s tweet reads.
Spoke to our former Prime Minister Shri HD Deve Gowda Ji and conveyed birthday wishes to him. I pray for his good health and long life.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 18, 2018
The announcement made by the Congress to extend unconditional support to the JD(S) gave no time to the BJP to chalk out a strategy to discuss the issue of government formation with the JD(S). But the PM today tweeting that he spoke to Deve Gowda is significant as it could be seen as an attempt to reach out to the JD(S) in sending a message that BJP is okay with forming majority government with support from the JD(S) and giving respectful presentation to the JD(S).
Twitter users also pointed out that while Modi has wished the former PM on his birthday on earlier occasions as well, this is the first time that he took to Twitter to inform that he had also spoke to him. The gesture becomes even more interesting if you factor in the fact that the PM had during his rallies avoided attacks on Deve Gowda and praised him. Deve Gowda in return had praised PM for his oratory skills but ruled out that his party join the ranks with the BJP in case of a hung assembly.
The BJP and JD(S) had previously ruled the state for 20 months between 2006 and 2007.