The BJP is not in a hurry to stake claim to form government in Karnataka as the fate of 17 rebel MLAs, who are from the Congress-JD(S) coalition, hangs in balance with the state assembly Speaker yet to take a call on either their resignations or the two parties' plea for their disqualification.
BJP sources said the party will be more sure of its next move after Speaker Ramesh Kumar takes a decision or the Supreme Court, which is also hearing a case related to the matter, brings a legal closure to the issue.
The party's central leadership is weighing its options, they said.
There is also a view that the BJP should go for fresh assembly polls in the state, seeking a clear majority but many leaders feel that the party should go ahead and stake claim for forming the government.
The decision Kumar, who was elected as a Congress candidate, takes can have a bearing on the contours of the next government.
As long as the rebel MLAs remain members of the assembly, the BJP will not have a clear majority and some of its leaders apprehend that rushing to form the next government in such a scenario will not be wise.
BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa, who is being seen as the likely contender for the top post again, had to resign as chief minister after the 2018 assembly polls as he could not muster a majority after staking claim to form the government on the ground that his party had emerged as the single largest one.
However, a party leader said things are more comfortable for the BJP now as rebel MLAs have already played their cards by ensuring the fall of the Congress-JD(S) government.
"We will still wait and watch. What is the hurry," he said.
Yeddyurappa is keen to stake claim to form the next government but the party's central leadership is treading cautiously.
Top party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its president Amit Shah, will take a call on the matter soon, he added.
The HD Kumaraswamy government in the state fell on Tuesday after it lost the confidence vote, garnering 99 votes against the 105 to the BJP in the assembly, ending the nearly three-week-long high political drama.
The coalition needed 103 votes in its favour to win the motion as 20 MLAs — Congress-JDS (17), BSP (1), Independents (2) — skipped proceedings, reducing the effective strength of the House to 205.
In Bengaluru, Yeddyurappa said he was awaiting instructions from his party central leadership on staking claim to form an alternative government in the state.
"I'm awaiting instructions from Delhi. I can call legislature party meeting any time and go to Raj Bhavan to stake claim. I'm waiting for it," Yeddyurappa told reporters.
Opposition accuses BJP of 'brazen horse-trading' in Karnataka
A number of political parties on Wednesday hit out at the BJP after the fall of the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka and accused the ruling party at the Centre of indulging in "brazen horse-trading" and "misusing power".
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said the day will go down in the history of democracy as a "black chapter".
"The manner in which BJP kept all constitutional norms aside and used money and power to pull down the government in Karnataka will be registered in the history of democracy as a black chapter," she said.
"Any amount of condemnation of such an act is not enough," Mayawati said in a tweet.
Mayawati had expelled her party's lone MLA in Karnataka for "violating" the party decision to vote in favour of the H D Kumaraswamy government that lost the trust vote in the assembly on Tuesday.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has alleged that "brazen horse-trading" and "misuse of power" by the BJP has led to the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.
"Whatever may have been the strains in the coalition, the brazen horse-trading and misuse of power in Karnataka is there for all to see. From the start when BJP tried to prevent formation of this govt, until now, it has been an open display of political immorality and money power (sic)," Yechury tweeted.
Hours after the fall of the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said the greed of those who saw the alliance as an obstacle in their path to power won, while democracy and the state's people lost.
"From its first day, the Cong-JDS alliance in Karnataka was a target for vested interests, both within & outside, who saw the alliance as a threat & an obstacle in their path to power. Their greed won today," Gandhi tweeted.
"Democracy, honesty and the people of Karnataka lost," he said.
Reacting to the development, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said one day the BJP would discover that everything cannot be bought, everyone cannot be bullied and every lie is eventually exposed.
"Until then I suppose, the citizens of our country will have to endure their unbridled corruption, the systematic dismantling of institutions that protect the people's interests and the weakening of a democracy that took decades of toil and sacrifice to build," she said.
Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat on Wednesday said the BJP's "greed for power" was like Bakasur, a demon in the 'Mahabharat' who had a huge appetite, as he hit out at the saffron party over the Karnataka episode.
He said the BJP is not content with ruling states where it has been voted to power.
Thorat said, "The BJP's greed for power is like Bakasur. It is in power at the Centre and some states. But, it wants to take over states ruled by opposition parties as well. Is the BJP a political party or Bakasur."
The 14-month-old Congress-JDS coalition government in Karnataka headed by H D Kumaraswamy collapsed on Tuesday after losing the vote of confidence in the assembly in a climax to three-week-long intense power struggle. The confidence motion in the Karnataka Assembly was defeated with 99 members voting for the motion and 105 against it.
(with inputs from agencies)