The Assembly Elections in Karnataka produced an inconclusive verdict as no single party getting a simple majority to form the government. However, the BJP won 104 of the 222 constituencies and emerged as a single largest party. The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) won 78 and 37 seats respectively.
With the results of the Karnataka assembly election throwing up a hung house, the role of the Governor has come into focus, in regard to whether the single largest party or the leader claiming majority with post-poll alliance should be invited to form the new government. As a matter of convention, the Governor has to first invite the single largest party to form the government. But the decision has to be an “informed one” and “on sound basis,” with a view to provide a stable government.
Later, the M M Punchhi Commission also elaborated that the governor should follow “constitutional conventions” in a case of a hung Assembly. Further, in a case of a Hung Assembly, the Punchhi Commission prescribed:-
1. The party or alliances which get the widest support in the Legislative Assembly should be called upon to form the government.
2. If there is a pre-poll coalition or alliance, it should be treated as one political party. And in case, such coalition gets a majority, the leader of such alliances shall be called by the Governor to form the government.
3. In case no pre-poll coalition or party has a clear majority, the governor should select the Chief Minister in the order of priorities indicated here:-
(i) The group of parties which had a pre-poll alliance of the largest number.
(ii) The largest single party which claims to form the government with the support of others.
(iii) A post-electoral alliance where parties are joining the government and the remaining including independents are supporting the government from outside.
(iv) A post-electoral alliance with all partners joining the government.