Sunday, January 20, 2019 | 11:18 PM

Modi party accused of bribery as Karnataka sees tense govt talks

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party hit back on Wednesday against charges it tried to bribe opposing lawmakers to change sides after an election in a south Indian state left no group with a majority.

H.D. Kumaraswamy, a leader of the Janata Dal (Secular) party which came third in the Karnataka state election, said Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had offered $15 million each to as many as 32 lawmakers. The BJP dismissed the allegation as a “figment of imagination” and attacked Janata Dal (Secular) and the country’s main opposition party, Congress.

Tense negotiations are likely to form the next government in the state. The result is being closely watched as India builds up to a national election next year. Kumaraswamy’s Jana­­ta Dal (Secular) secured 37 seats in the 224-member assembly after last Saturday’s vote.

The BJP was the single largest party with 104 seats, nine short of an overall ma­­jority. Janata Dal (Secular) has however agreed to form a coalition with Congress, which previously controlled the assembly but saw its share cut to 78 seats from 122 previously.

The BJP has demanded to be given the first opportunity to form a government because it is the largest party. But Kumaraswamy questioned where it would get support and added that Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress had “a clear majority”.