BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ is real: Karnataka min

Bengaluru: D K Shivakumar, Karnataka Water Resource minister, alleged on Sunday that three Congress MLAs were camping in a hotel in Mumbai along with some BJP leaders.

He further said that the BJPs ‘Operation Lotus’ to topple the state’s coalition government was for real and that former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao were aware of the development.

“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.

Shivakumar accused the Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy of being lenient towards the BJP and was adopting a policy of wait and watch. “If I was in his place, I would have exposed it within 24 hours.”

Many Congress MLAs in the state have alleged that they were approached by the BJP leaders to join them. The saffron party, however, has denied the charges, saying the coalition partners were hiding their shortcomings and internal strife by making false accusations.

Operation Lotus is a reference to the BJP luring opposition MLAs in 2008 to defect to ensure stability of its then-government headed by B S Yeddyurappa in Karnataka.

Shivakumar, however, said that the BJP would not be successful in its attempt. “You have been saying that a ‘kranti‘ (revolution) may happen after Makar Sankranti. Let us see. It is not so easy because there is already anti-defection law in place, but we are aware of what you are hinting at.”

He also asked why the income tax department and the anti-corruption bureau have failed to take any action on a complaint by Dinesh Gundu Rao on the matter. “We do not know what progress these two agencies have made so far, but sitting on the complaint by a political party is not good,” he said.

NT Bureau