Karnataka: Coalition Circumvents Crisis As One Rebel MLA Returns & Two Said To Be "On Their Way"
Another twist in the Karnataka politics, as the disgruntled Congress MLAs fail to get along with the BJP’s “Operation Lotus” at the last moment on January 16, reported The Times Of India.
Meeting with all 79 legislators to be held on Jan 18
On Wednesday, BJP tasted defeat as an attempt to destabilise the Congress-JD(S) coalition government collapsed, with the six MLAs earlier reported to have gone incommunicado were contacted by the ruling party.
The Congress, soon after the return of Bhima Naik, MLA of Hagaribomanahalli in Bellary, called for a meeting of the state legislature party on January 18, to work on their strategies before the Lok Sabha polls. Congress leaders said that they expect all the 79 legislators to attend the meeting called by CLP leader and former Chief Minister Siddarmaiah.
AICC general secretary and Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal said that they have contacted all MLAs who went missing. “They are with the Congress and one MLA is with us in Bangalore while two are on their way,” he said.
The Indian Express reported that two other MLAs, B N Ganesh from Kampli and B Nagendra from Bellary Rural were on their way back on January 16, evening. Returned Bellary MLA Naik said that his phone had no call balance and was switched off. “I was not in contact with other MLAs or anybody from the BJP,” he said.
A source told to the Indian Express that apart from three MLAs from Bellary region, two others from Belagavi, Mahesh Kamatahalii and Ramesh Jharkiholi along with Umesh Yadav from Kalaburagi region were likely to return.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition had their first jolt when two independent MLAs withdrew their support to the coalition as they were discontent with H.D. Kumaraswamy-led coalition government and went to support the BJP.
Story So Far
On January 15, after both the Congress-JD(S) and BJP accused of each other for poaching MLAs with inducements, two independent MLAs – R. Shankar and H. Nagesh announced the withdrawal of their support to the ruling coalition in the state, reported The Hindu. The two had expressed their dissatisfaction against the Chief Minister H.D Kumaraswamy led government in the state and had stated that they would support BJP from now and hope that the party would welcome them.
The two of them who were reportedly staying with a few dissatisfied Congress MLAs in Mumbai had released letters withdrawing their support. However, Kumaraswamy on the withdrawal of two MLAs said that it would not have any impact on the government’s stability. On this sudden development, Deputy Chief Minister and Congress Leader G. Parmeshwara accused the BJP of poaching MLAs with bribes.
The ongoing rivalry between the ruling Congress-JDS coalition and the opposition BJP alleged each other on January 14, for luring MLAs with bribes and high post. Several media reports had surfaced earlier stating that six to eight Congress MLAs were ready to join the BJP and some lawmakers from the ruling coalition had gone incommunicado. However, when asked to Kumaraswamy, he had then said that “sufficient numbers” to run a stable government.
He had declared that question of instability in his government is off the table. Several reports said that the BJP was keeping all its 104 MLAs in Delhi and conducting meetings for them. BJP MLAs had gone to Delhi for the party national council meeting which ended on January 12.
According to a report by NDTV, the BJP has moved all its MLA to a luxury resort in Gurgaon while five Congress MLAs were missing.
What BJP Said?
The Congress-JDS earlier accused the BJP of bribing their MLAs with various allurements. In response to it, the BJP state chief B.S. Yeddyurappa refused all the reports saying that his party was attempting ‘Operation Lotus’ to defeat the state government. ‘Operation Lotus’ took place when in 2008, BJP government headed by Yeddyurappa allegedly bid to lure several opposition MLAs to defect, to make sure that his government was stable.
Yeddyurappa said pointing towards the allegations made against him that Congress-JD(S) combined was trying to woo his party MLAs. He told reporters after meeting state BJP MLAs and MPs in Delhi that its JD(S)-Congress who have already initiated horse trading. He further went on saying that the MLAs will stay here for one or two days to avoid any contact with Kumaraswamy as he is trying to reach out to BJP MLAs.
He said that the BJP is now alert and careful as the Kumaraswamy is trying to lure BJP’s MLA with the help of power and money. Yeddyurappa further stated that Kumaraswamy had offered a ministerial post to a Kalburgi MLA. He mentioned that the ruling party is luring BJP MLAs despite having majority numbers.
On the other hand, Congress said that Yeddyurappa was taking efforts to destabilise the state government.
What are the numbers?
Of the 224 member Assembly seats, BJP has 104 members, Congress has 80 members, JDS has 37, and two independent and a BSP MLA. Kumaraswamy said that he enjoyed the support of 120 MLAs and said that Yeddyurappa was trying to make futile attempts to destabilise his government.