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The Election and Govt Formation in Karnataka
|by Aniket Mohapatra|
Karnataka is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act in that year. Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973. Since India is a federal state, Karnataka too has a separate Legislature and executive to govern the people of the state. We have a similar kind of Parliamentary form of Government in the states as we see in case of our Central Government. The Legislature of Karnataka like other states thus makes law on the subjects given to the states in the seventh schedule of the Constitution of India. However, it’s a bi-cameral Legislature unlike that of Odisha which has only one house in the Legislature. Karnataka therefore, has two democratically elected houses, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council.
The Legislative Assembly consists of 224 members who are elected for five-year terms. The Legislative Council is a permanent body of 75 members with one-third (25 members) retiring every two years. Election to its Legislative Assembly takes place every five year. The party or group of parties that enjoys majority on the floor of the Legislative Assembly forms the Government i.e. executive. The government of Karnataka is headed by the Chief Minister who is usually chosen by the members of the majority party or group in the Legislative Assembly. The Governor of the state appoints him and the other ministers of the Council in accordance with the advice of the Chief Minister. However, there is no Constitutional restriction on the members of the Legislative Council becoming a minister. The Chief Minister, along with the council of ministers, drives the legislative agenda and exercises most of the executive powers.
The election to the Legislative Assembly was very significant this year i.e. 2013 as the Bharatiya Janata Party was ruling in that state for last five years. It was for the first time in 2008 that BJP was ruling in a state in south India. Therefore it was in the national focus. The election to the Legislative Assembly was held in a single phase on 5 May 2013 for 223 out of total 224 seats. 50,446 polling stations were set up for the 4.18 crore voters in Karnataka. Election in the constituency of Periyapatna had been adjourned due to the death of the BJP candidate, Sannamogegowda, a day before polls. A voter turnout of 70.23 was recorded. Votes were counted on 8 May, 2013.
The result was astonishing. The BJP faced defeat at the hands of Indian National Congress. The Indian National Congress emerged as the majority party winning 121 seats defeating the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party which won only 40 seats. The Janata Dal (Secular) and Karnataka Janata Paksha won 40 seats and 6 seats respectively. Even Congress won the Periyapatna assembly polls (which was adjourned) held later, taking the total number of MLAs of ruling side to 122 in the 224-member assembly. Independent candidates have won nine seats out of which three candidates who failed to secure the Congress tickets were elected as independents. This shows the support of the people of Karnataka to Congress. Following the defeat, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar submitted his resignation on 8 May. Governor H. R. Bharadwaj later appointed INC legislative leader Siddaramaiah as the next chief minister.
Mr. Siddaramaiah contested from Varuna Constituency and was re-elected for the sixth time. He had previously announced that 2013 assembly election would be his last election. After the massive victory of Congress in the 2013 Assembly Elections, the party adopted secret balloting route to select the new chief minister.
Largely keeping away the “tainted” MLAs, the Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on 18th of May 2013 i.e. on Saturday expanded his ministry with the induction of 28 ministers. Significantly, none of the members of the Legislative Council was accommodated in the Council of ministers. Out of the total 28, twenty are made Cabinet Ministers and eight as Ministers of State. They were administered oath of office by Governor HR Bhardwaj at a ceremony at Glass House at Raj Bhavan on the same day.
It is hoped that the present government under the leadership of Mr. Siddaramaiah will continue until its full term and will try to act according to the promises it made before the electorate during the Assemby election in 2013.
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