Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Monday denied reports of his government facing an imminent danger after three Congress MLAs reportedly left Bengaluru for Delhi. This gave rise to speculations that the five MLAs had left the state with a desire to quit the party.
Speaking to reporters, Kumaraswamy said that ‘all three of them (Congress MLAs)’ were ‘continuously in contact’ with him. News agency ANI quoted him as saying, “They went to Mumbai after informing me. My government isn’t under any threat. I know who all BJP is trying to contact and what they’re offering. I can handle it, why should media be concerned?”
Union Minister BJP leader from Karnataka, DV Sadananda Gowda, said, “They (Congress) should keep their house in order. They are not able to keep their MLAs in Karnataka together and just simply pin pointing at BJP.”
Meanwhile, Karnataka’s Water Resource minister DK Shivakumar Sunday said that the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ to topple the state’s coalition government was for real. He alleged that three Congress MLAs in question were camping in a hotel in Mumbai in the ‘company of some BJP leaders.’
“Horse trading is going on in the state. Three of our MLAs are in Mumbai in a hotel with some BJP MLAs and leaders. We are aware of what has transpired there and how much has been offered to them,” news agency PTI quoted Shivakumar as saying. Lotus is the election symbol of the BJP and Operation Lotus was first used in Karnataka in reference the BJP’s attempts to lure several opposition MLAs to topple defect to ensure stability of its then-government headed by BS Yeddyurappa in Karnataka in 2008.
According to the PTI report, Shivakumar accused Kumaraswamy of being lenient towards the BJP. He said, “Our chief minister is bit lenient towards the BJP. By ‘lenient’, I mean he is not exposing the facts he knows. All the MLAs have conveyed to the chief minister about the ongoing conspiracies. They have also told Siddaramaiah about it.”
Elsewhere, the BJP has brought its 100 MLAs to Gurgaon, where they’ve been kept amidst tight security to avoid any poaching attempts by the Congress or the JDS. Complaining that CM Kumaraswamy was trying to split the BJP, party leader and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said, “The Janata Dal Secular (JDS) wants to break BJP lawmakers. We are united. We will stay in Delhi for one or two days.”
In the last year’s assembly elections, no single party was able to secure a majority. The BJP, which too had failed to get the majority, was invited by the Governor to form the government. However, Yeddyurappa had to resign just two days after being sworn in as the state’s chief minister.
The Congress and the JDS had then formed a post poll alliance with Kumaraswamy being projected as the coalition’s chief minister despite JDS being the junior partner in the alliance.
Soon after the assembly elections were over last year, Kumaraswamy had accused the BJP of approaching his MLAs with an offer of Rs 100 crore each.