‘Operation Kamala on, our MLAs offered money,’ claims Kumaraswamy, BJP denies
With opposition BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa undertaking a statewide tour of the drought-affected areas of Karnataka, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has alleged that “poaching” attempts are being made on the MLAs from the ruling Janata Dal (Secular) or the JD(S). Renewing the charge, Kumaraswamy said that “Operation Kamala is still on” and that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) “offered” money to “one of our MLAs”.
“Operation Kamala is still on. Last night they (the BJP) offered one of our MLAs huge amount of money. You’ll be surprised to know the amount. Our MLA told them he doesn’t need any gift and not to try these things with him. This is how they are still working on poaching,” Kumaraswamy was quoted as saying by news agency ANI on Saturday.
The BJP rejected the charge with Yeddyurappa calling it “baseless” while stating that it was the duty of the ruling parties to keep their MLAs “intact”. He denied that there was “any Operation Kamala” going on in Karnataka, which threw a hung assembly in the state elections held last year.
“We aren’t indulging in any Operation Kamala.Their MLAs are trying to go away from them due to their internal fight. It’s their duty to keep them intact.They should stop giving baseless statements against us.We are 104, and two Independent MLAs are also in the Opposition,” said Yeddyurappa, according to ANI.
Yeddyurappa is currently on a tour of drought-affected areas of Karnataka, where farm distress was the talking point during the assembly election last year. The Kumaraswamy government announced a loan waiver scheme worth Rs 44,000 crore but the BJP termed the move as inadequate.
Kumaraswamy’s allegation has come at a time when the Congress, the alliance partner of the JD(S) in the Karnataka government, is dealing with a crisis after two of the party MLAs were reported to have engaged in physical duel resulting in injuries to one of them.
Congress MLA Anand Singh claimed that he was assaulted by party legislator JN Ganesh at a resort in the outskirts of Bengaluru earlier this month. Anand Singh was admitted to a hospital. Anand Singh later lodged an FIR accusing JN Ganesh of assaulting him.
The Congress leadership responded by suspending JN Ganesh and setting up a special committee to investigate the issue of fight between the two party MLAs. There have been reports suggesting that the Congress MLAs were not happy with the party playing junior role in the government.
On the other hand, Kumaraswamy has also been vocal about his “discomfort” with the Congress. Kumaraswamy was reported to have told his partymen that he was “working like a clerk and not a chief minister” due to “interference” of the Congress party, which was “behaving like a big brother”.
Karnataka went to the polls in May 2018, when the BJP won 104 seats while the Congress secured 80 seats. The JD(S) had won 37 seats. The Congress extended unconditional support to the JD(S) to keep the BJP out of power. The BJP, though, formed a short-lived government, which fell before the floor test in the Karnataka assembly. Kumaraswamy, thereafter, formed the government stitching a JD(S)-Congress alliance.
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