A collaboration between the ruling BJP and the opposition Janata Dal Secular (JDS) in Karnataka for an election has raised speculation about the two parties warming up for an alliance even though former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had told NDTV his party was only supporting the BJP for a limited purpose.
MK Pranesh of the BJP was elected as Deputy Chairperson of the Karnataka Legislative Council today, with support from the JDS in the Legislative Council or upper house, where no party - BJP, JDS or Congress - has a majority. It was no surprise, given that the BJP and the JDS have been on the same side in this, against the Congress.
The election became necessary following the death of SL Dharmegowda of the JDS, who died by suspected suicide in December.
In dramatic and unprecedented scenes in the Legislative Council on December 15, Mr Dharmegowda had been dragged out of the Chairperson's seat by Congress MLAs.
The BJP had wanted the removal of the Chairperson, Prabhatchandra Shetty of the Congress, and had said he had no right to sit in the Chair. Mr Dharmegowda, as Deputy, occupied the Chair instead, which led to the chaos with Congress members pulling him out.
Speaking in the House, the newly elected Deputy Chairperson said he felt a mixture of joy and pain, given the circumstances of the election following the death of his predecessor.
"He (Dharmegowda) was a successful politician too. He worked so successfully. I have filled the place of someone like that. I am really happy - but at the same time there is pain that it happened in this way," Mr Pranesh said.
"We need to forget what happened here in the Council earlier and find new paths going ahead. We should not get into a blamegame for what happened ...We all need to be responsible and I need the support of all of you."
In another setback for the Congress, the BJP, once again with the support of the JDS, is also moving a no-confidence motion against Council Chairperson Pratapchandra Shetty. If he is removed, there will be a fresh election for the post. Basavaraj Horatti of the JDS is expected to take over with the support of the BJP.
The BJP came to power in Karnataka in late 2019 after mass defections brought the JDS-Congress government of Mr Kumaraswamy down.
After the results of the state election months before, the JDS had refused to back the BJP and had decided to form government with Congress support.