Karnataka govt, BJP accuse each other of trying to poach MLAs
When election results to the 224-member House were declared last May, the BJP, with 104 members, emerged the single largest party, but it was the Congress (80) which formed the government in partnership with the JD(S) (37).Updated: Jan 14, 2019 22:32 IST
The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) exchanged accusations of poaching legislators belonging to the rival in Karnataka where the former, in partnership with the Janata Dal (Secular), runs the state with a majority of seven seats.
The current controversy was triggered after the state Cabinet was expanded on December 22. Soon after, several disgruntled Congress legislators, including influential Belgavi leader Ramesh Jarkiholi who was dropped from the ministry, threatened to quit.
On Sunday, the Congress’s key troubleshooter and the irrigation minister of the state, DK Shivakumar, alleged that three party MLAs were in Mumbai at the behest of BJP leaders. He said this was part of “Operation Kamal [Lotus]”, the BJP’s name for its operation to form a government in the state.
When election results to the 224-member House were declared last May, the BJP, with 104 members, emerged the single largest party, but it was the Congress (80) which formed the government in partnership with the JD(S) (37). The latter’s HD Kumaraswamy was made the chief minister.
Kumaraswamy downplayed the threat, as he has all though his reign as CM, and claimed that the three MLAs were in touch with him. “They are in Mumbai for some personal work and I have spoken to them,” said Kumaraswamy, asserting that his government would complete its full five-year term. Senior Congress leader and deputy CM G Parameshwara said, “There is no worry regarding stability of the government. They [BJP] are trying [to topple us]. But I am confident that they will not succeed.”
Senior BJP leaders, including former CM BS Yeddyurappa and Union minister Sadananda Gowda, who are in Delhi, refuted these charges. They claimed that it was the JD(S) and the Congress which were trying to lure BJP MLAs with money and other inducements. “It is actually CM Kumaraswamy who has been approaching our MLAs by offering huge money and ministerships,” said Yeddyurappa
The BJP leader also claimed that his party would not form the government as it doesn’t have the numbers.
Denying reports that the legislators are being moved to Gurugram, Sadananda Gowda said the legislators will soon return to Karnataka. A senior party leader said MLAs and former MLAs from the state were in the Capital to attend the BJP’s national council meeting on Friday and Saturday and then stayed back for a meeting to chalk out election plans for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“The election planning meeting is part of the exercise being conducted with leaders of all states to prepare for the general elections and it was planned days in advance,” he said on condition of anonymity.
Political analyst Harish Ramaswamy said that while the BJP is concerned that if it topples the government before the Lok Sabha polls, its rivals would “ go to town about subversion of democracy”, it can’t entirely give up attempts to form a government because this is the way “to keep its own flock together”.
He added that this state of affairs could last till the polls.
First Published: Jan 14, 2019 22:04 IST