‘Op Lo­tus’ plunges K’taka into cri­sis

Cong-JD(S) Fears BJP Try­ing To Poach MLAs, Saf­fron Party Shifts Its MLAs To Haryana

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

Ben­galuru/My­suru: An in­tense po­lit­i­cal drama is un­fold­ing in Kar­nataka with BJP shift­ing all its 104 MLAs to the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion over the last two days even as CM H D Ku­maraswamy al­leged that as part of ‘Op­er­a­tion Lo­tus 3:0’, the op­po­si­tion party was con­spir­ing to poach Congress-JD(S) MLAs to dis­lodge his gov­ern­ment. The BJP MLAs were sched­uled to meet party chief Amit Shah in Delhi on Sun­day and re­turn to Ben­galuru on Mon­day.

But in an at­tempt to keep the flock to­gether and thwart any counter-ac­tion by Congress-JD(S), they were on Mon­day shifted to ITC Grand Bharat in Hasan­pur Tauru in Nuh dis­trict ad­join­ing Gur­gaon. The BJP MLAs will now miss the Sankranti fer­vour as their stay in the NCR has been in­def­i­nitely ex­tended. ‘Op­er­a­tion Lo­tus’ refers to BJP’s suc­cess­ful poach­ing of MLAs from other par­ties dur­ing B S Yed­dyu­rappa’s first stint as CM.

A se­nior MLA who is in Yed­dyu­rappa’s in­ner cir­cle claimed the party has al­ready en­listed the sup­port of 12 Congress MLAs and is wait­ing for the sup­port of an­other four to five leg­is­la­tors. “This time, you will see some re­sult,” he said, ex­press­ing con­fi­dence that BJP will suc­ceed in ei­ther form­ing its gov­ern­ment or forc­ing a midterm as­sem­bly elec­tion along with the Lok Sabha polls.

At­tack­ing BSY, Ku­maraswamy said in My­suru, “There is no doubt Op­er­a­tion Lo­tus 3.0 has started. BJP has been des­per­ately try­ing to lure our MLAs. I know how much money and what gifts are be­ing of­fered. I also have the in­for­ma­tion in whose name BJP had booked rooms in Mum­bai.”

The CM im­plied that three Congress MLAs who are cur­rently in Mum­bai were be­ing wooed, but did not spec­ify names. “They are in touch with me. They’re my friends. Even the 104 BJP mem­bers are my friends. The MLAs who are in Mum­bai had brought it to my no­tice be­fore leav­ing. They have gone to the neigh­bour­ing state on per­sonal rea­sons and there is no ne­ces­sity to add po­lit­i­cal colour to it,” he added.

Ku­maraswamy al­leged BJP is tap­ping JD(S) MLAs, too. The CM told TOI that BJP lead­ers Ja­gadish Shet­tar, C N Ash­wan­th­narayan and Aravind Lim­bavalli had con­tacted a JD(S) MLA on Mon­day evening. “The of­fer is Rs 50 crore, a min­is­ter’s post and Rs 30 crore to con­test the polls as the JD(S) MLA has to re­sign and con­test again. This in­di­cates the ex­tent to which BJP is stoop­ing to lure MLAs,” he said. “Don’t (you) think I can­not make some BJP MLAs re­sign? But I don’t want to mis­use my power,” the CM said.

Re­but­ting the charges, BSY said: “It is not us but they who have started horse trad­ing us­ing money and power. They have been try­ing to con­tact our MLAs. One of our MLAs from Kal­aburagi dis­trict has been of­fered a min­is­te­rial berth by Ku­maraswamy him­self.” He as­serted that all 104 BJP MLAs are united.

Claim­ing that most of the rul­ing al­liance MLAs were un­happy, Yed­dyu­rappa said: “Let Ku­maraswamy keep his flock to­gether in­stead of point­ing fin­gers at BJP.”

Congress leader Sid­dara­ma­iah, how­ever, dis­missed any dis­sent within Congress.

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