‘Op Lotus’ plunges K’taka into crisis
Cong-JD(S) Fears BJP Trying To Poach MLAs, Saffron Party Shifts Its MLAs To Haryana
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.