Amidst allegations of horse-trading in Karnataka, a Congress MLA resigned from the Karnataka assembly on Tuesday, taking the tally of defectors in the Opposition camp to two.
The resignations came at a time when BJP state president KS Eshwarappa admitted that Operation Kamal to lure Opposition MLAs to defect to the BJP to consolidate its position in the House was in progress.
Operation Kamal has been undertaken as a preemptive measure to stave off a crisis if the Karnataka High Court sets aside the disqualification of 11 BJP MLAs and 5 Independents by speaker KG Bopaiah ahead of the first motion of confidence moved by the BJP government October 11.
"Not only Operation Kamal, we will do anything for the stability of the government," Eshwarappa said on Tuesday.
He claimed several MLAs in the Congress were weighing the option of leaving the party.
"What is wrong in drawing such MLAs?" Eshwarappa asked.
The operation seems to have led to the two defection of JD(S) MLA M C Ashwath and Congress MLA S V Ramchandra, who cited personal reasons for resigning from the assembly.
Congress president R V Deshpande said, "Some party MLAs have been approached by the BJP leaders, who are offering money and important posts for defection."
"We have informed the governor about the BJP's efforts at horse-trading through Operation Kamal and sought an end to the campaign," he said.
Operation Kamal is similar to Operation Lotus, which was launched by the BJP after the May 2008 assembly polls.
It allegedly engineered the defection of 4 JD(S) and 3 Congress MLAs to help the BJP prove its majority in the House. The operation allegedly helped the defectors win rewards, re-elections and important posts in government bodies.
"Some MLAs whom the BJP leaders contacted over the phone have recorded the conversations. We will soon make them public," Congress leader Siddaramaiah said.
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa however denied there being any such thing as Operation Kamal.