The Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka has flown 101 of its 104 MLAs to a hotel in Gurugram amid allegations of “horse-trading” being made by both the saffron party and the ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular), The Hindu reported on Tuesday.
Nippani Shashikala Jolle, one of the Karnataka BJP legislators staying at the Gurugram hotel, said they had gathered there to strategise for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “There are no talks of forming a government, but if there’s anything, our leaders will tell you,” she said.
Congress leader Zameer Ahmed said no legislators would leave the party, ANI reported. “We will not sit silently if attempts of poaching are made,” Ahmed said. “We are communicating with some BJP MLAs.”
Karnataka Water Resources minister DK Shivakumar on Monday had claimed that the BJP had lured three of its MLAs to a Mumbai hotel in an attempt to oust the ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition. Shivakumar had said the development was part of BJP’s “Operation Lotus”.
“Operation Lotus” is a term the Congress has used since 2008 to refer to the BJP’s alleged attempts to lure Opposition legislators to join its camp and to guarantee the stability of its erstwhile government under BS Yeddyurappa in Karnataka when he was in power then.
Meanwhile, Janata Dal (Secular) chief and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda told India Today TV that “only God” can help the coalition government in the state. Gowda said he has “full faith” that none of the ruling coalition’s MLAs will leave.
BJP leader and former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa refuted allegations that his party was trying to topple the government and accused the Congress of trying to set up an “alternative government”, NDTV reported. “The Janata Dal Secular wants to break up the BJP. We are united,” Yeddyurappa said.
On Monday, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy accused the BJP of attempting to destabilise his government by trying to poach the MLAs, reported PTI. “I know who they are approaching, what they offered to MLAs,” the chief minister had claimed. “I am collecting all the news and doing whatever [possible] from my side to see to that BJP does not disturb the government.”
Kumaraswamy said the three Congress MLAs were in touch with him and had gone to Mumbai only after informing him, ANI reported.
The chief minister had also said that the Congress should not treat his party – Janata Dal (Secular) – like “third grade citizens” and that the coalition partners adopt a “give and take policy” to put up a united fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party, PTI reported.
The BJP has 104 MLAs in the 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly while the ruling coalition has 118 legislators. The majority mark is 113.