With no clear majority to BJP and need of support to form government, despite being the single largest party to have most gained most seats in the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018, and Congress in desperate need to retain power in Karnataka, even if it means giving up the ministerial post and joining hands with the Janata Dal Secular (JDS) party. No matter which party wins and which party comes to power, it is a win-win for Deve Gowda’s regional party JDS – the ultimate winner of this election.

The final figures of the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 are yet to be released – but what we know is no single political party has managed to cross the magic number of 113 seats to attain clear majority in the 222-seat state assembly and form government. BJP has managed to become the single largest party to have won the highest number of seats in Karnataka elections this year, however, it runs short of reaching the magic number of 113 which is required to form government in the state. So for BJP to open its gateways in southern India, they need to form government in Karnataka – one of the last two major states where Congress is in power.

On the other hand, Congress finished with a distant second and not being able to retain power in Karnataka will dent its image on national level and might prove fatal to the party in Lok Sabha 2019. Currently holding just three states – Mizoram, Pudducherry and Punjab – losing Karnataka will break the morale of party members and disapprove to leadership of Rahul Gandhi as party president. With that on mind, Congress has offered support to Deve Gowda’s regional party JDS. It is believed that Congress has even agreed that Gowda’s son HD Kumaraswamy will become the Chief Minister of a coalition government.

No matter whether BJP or Congress forms government in Karnataka, former Prime Minister HD Devegowda and his son Kumaraswamy have a reason to smile. Why? Because neither BJP nor Congress has an outright majority and they will need support – for which, the decision JDS makes will be crucial and decisive. In other words, the one JDS picks will be the ruler, with JDS’ own king at the reign as the Chief Minister – the party is enjoying the role of a kingmaker. It is clear who the winner here is – it’s not BJP, it’s not Congress. It is the JDS.

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