Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief BS Yeddyurappa on Monday rubbished Congress-JD(S) accusations that his party was attempting ‘Operation Lotus’ to topple the coalition government in the state. On the contrary, he said that it is parties in power who are trying to lure BJP MLAs.
“Despite having majority, the Congress-JD(S) combine is trying to lure our MLAs and indulging in horse-trading; BJP is not doing it. We with 104 MLAs are ready to work as opposition peacefully,” Yeddyurappa told reporters in New Delhi.
He said that BJP MLAs from Karnataka were in the national capital to discuss the strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls
Yeddyurappa accused Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of trying to lure BJP leaders with “money and minister’s position”.
“We have not done this to any Congress-JD(S) MLAs,” he said.
Reacting to Yeddyurappa’s allegation, Kumaraswamy said, “Congress and JDS have sufficient numbers, we don’t need to poach BJP MLAs.”
While all 104 BJP MLAs from Karnataka are in New Delhi, reports say that around six to eight Congress MLAs have gone incommunicado fuelling speculation that they are ready to jump ship to the BJP side.
Karnataka Congress had on Sunday claimed that the BJP was indulging in ‘Operation Lotus’, alleging that three of its MLAs were camping in a hotel in Mumbai in the “company of some BJP leaders”.
DK Shivakumar, Karnataka Water Resource minister, said that horse trading is going on in the state.
“Three of our MLAs are in Mumbai in a hotel with some BJP MLAs and leaders. We are aware of what has transpired there and how much has been offered to them,” he said.
Operation Lotus is a reference to the BJP allegedly luring several opposition MLAs to defect to ensure stability of its then-government headed by BS Yeddyurappa in Karnataka in 2008.
On Monday, Yeddyurappa said that there is “not even an iota of truth in BJP taking some ruling coalition MLAs to Mumbai”.
“Only Congress-JD(S) know (why their MLAs are stationed in Mumbai), we don’t know about it,” he said.
Yeddyurappa added that all the BJP MLAs will be in Delhi for one or two days.
“After that, we will go to our constituencies and begin our work in all the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies, on how to start preparing. We have discussed the directions given by the party leadership, both Prime Minister and party president,” he said.
He also rejected reports that BJP legislators in Delhi were likely to be shifted to Gurugram to prevent an alleged attempt by Congress-JD(S) to poach the MLAs stating, “There is no need for us to do any ‘resort politics’; we are not doing also.”