DK Shivakumar says BJP's Operation Lotus in Karnataka is real; BS Yeddyurappa denies its existence

Amid the ongoing stir in Karnataka over the BJP allegedly poaching Congress MLAs from the coalition government, Karnataka Water Resource minister and coalition leader DK Shivakumar claimed that Congress and JD(S)-led coalition government in the state is stable. Additionally, he claimed that the BJP is trying to "create chaos."

While Shivakumar spoke of the BJP's Operation Lotus, which is reportedly the saffron party's plan to poach coalition MLAs and form the government in the state, state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa has vehemently denied its existence.

As part of Operation Lotus, the BJP had reportedly planned to get about 15 Congress MLAs to resign and form the government in the state. In this pursuit, the saffron party had hoarded its MLAs in a resort in Gurgaon and shifted four Congress MLAs to Mumbai and other places.

DK Shivakumar says BJPs Operation Lotus in Karnataka is real; BS Yeddyurappa denies its existence

Representational image. AFP

"We are aware of what has transpired there (in Mumbai) and how much has been offered to them," NDTV quoted Shivakumar as saying. He was referring to reports of six coalition MLAs travelling to the Maharashtra state capital to talk to the BJP about potentially switching parties ahead of the upcoming polls. However, as per a report from Mumbai Mirror, two of the MLAs, Bheema Naik and N Ganesh, have returned to Bangalore.

Conversely, Yeddyurappa said, "The BJP has nothing do with ruling coalition MLAs who are in Mumbai," and accused the Congress and JD(S) of trying to shift the blame on his party to cover up their "failures and inability" to keep their flock together.

"No one from the BJP has indulged in any kind of operation or luring Congress-JD(S) MLAs. We had gathered all our MLAs atone place and were discussing the preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls for the last two-three days. Today, all are coming back," Yeddyurappa said on Thursday.

Instead, he turned around and put the blame right back at the ruling alliance,  accusing Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of "horse-trading."

"We are not indulging in any poaching. It is chief minister Kumaraswamy who is indulging in horse-trading. He himself is offering money and ministerial posts to our MLAs," Yeddyurappa said on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday.

However, as per a report from The Times of IndiaYeddyurappa is said to have realised that the required number of Congress MLAs would not resign, and allegedly told MLAs at the hotel that Operation Lotus had been dropped.

"The party high command wanted no less than 16 Congress-JD(S) MLAs to resign, that too in one go. Till Saturday, around 12 Congress MLAs had assured us they would switch sides, but they backtracked. Hence we have dropped the operation," Yeddyurappa is said to have told MLAs.

According to reports, former chief minister Siddaramaiah was instrumental in changing the Congress MLAs' minds. Siddaramaiah while leading talks with the rebel leaders, said that the Speaker of the state Assembly could sit on their resignations, adding that their move would backfire.

The stir comes a day before a Congress legislature party meeting, where party members have reportedly been warned that those who fail to show up can face the anti-defection and will be assumed to have left the party.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 17, 2019 18:52:24 IST

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