Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of trying to destabilise the coalition government in Karnataka, which he dubbed as “stable and strong”.

Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi, Kharge slammed the BJP for trying to cook up a storm in the state with an objective to create its own government.

“The BJP has always tried to destabilise stable governments in the country. Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Arunachal – the BJP has tried to install their own government by first dividing coalitions and then cobbling up the remnants. But they cannot succeed in Karnataka,” he said.

“The Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka is stable and strong and will continue to be so,” he said.

He urged the people of the country to see for themselves the alleged attempts made by the BJP to overthrow the coalition.

“I appeal to the people of the country to see how they are trying to remove a stable government; how they are trying to threaten the government,” he said.

He asserted that every Congress MLA will be present in the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting to be held on 18 January.

“Everyone will be there…no doubt,” he said amid reports that some ‘rebel’ Congress MLAs are staying put at Mumbai.

Hitting at the BJP, Kharge asked why the MLAs from the saffron party are holed up in a posh Gurugram hotel.

“Why did they keep their MLAs in a hotel in Gurugram? What need of protection? You believe in democracy, why not let them go? There is a major festival in Karnataka and yet they are holed up in that hotel,” he said.

A major political storm continues to threaten Karnataka as BJP and the Congress-JD(S) traded accusations over attempts at poaching of MLAs.

The controversy erupted after the Congress, a few days ago, accused the BJP of ‘Operation Lotus’ against the government by luring some Congress MLAs to its side.

Read More | Karnataka drama: CLP meeting on 18 Jan, Dy CM accuses BJP of trying to destabilise govt

Today, Karnataka Minister and chief trouble-shooter for the coalition DK Shivakumar expressed confidence in the stability of the government.

“Except one or two, all the MLAs are in touch with us. They are going to attend Congress Legislative Party meeting. You’ll know the strength of the government, not even a single MLA is going to resign,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.

The crisis became acute when two supporters of the coalition government withdrew late on Tuesday.

The MLAs who withdrew support are R Shankar, a legislator from Ranebennur Assembly segment in Haveri district, belonging to the regional Karnataka Pragnavantha Janata Party, and H Nagesh an Independent from Mulbagal constituency in Kolar district.

Brushing aside concerns on the stability of the government, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said that the coalition is “going on smoothly”.

“I was relaxed and I am relaxed. Don’t worry, be happy,” said Kumaraswamy.

Read More | Congress MLAs unreachable to media, not to me: HD Kumaraswamy

On the other hand, the BJP stationed over 100 MLAs inside a hotel in Gurugram.

State BJP president BS Yeddyurappa reportedly met the MLAs today. He had earlier rejected allegations that his party was attempting ‘Operation Lotus’ to topple the coalition government and counter accused the Congress-JD(S) of trying to poach saffron party’s MLAs.

In the 225-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly, the BJP has 104 members, Congress 80, JD(S) 37, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), KPJP and Independent one each.