Operation Lotus still on, Cong MLA offered gift: H D Kumaraswamy

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Friday claimed BJP was continuing its Operation Lotus to topple the JDS-Congress government and tried to lure a Congress legislator with ‘gift’, a charge rejected by the opposition party. Accusing BJP and its state president B S Yeddyurappa of being behind the offer allegedly made Thursday night, he said the MLA informed him that he had rejected the gift.

Dismissing the claim as wild allegation, Yeddyurappa hurled a counter charge that Kumaraswamy attempted to lure a BJP MLA. “Operation Lotus is on.

Yesterday night also they have telephoned a Congress legislator, asking him- where to send the gift, Kumaraswamy told reporters here. The chief minister’s fresh allegation comes days after Yeedyurappa had said the BJP would not destabilise the ruling coalition.

The State had remained in the grip of political unrest for several days recently with the Congress on tenterhooks to keep its numbers intact amid fears of poaching by the BJP after two independent MLAs withdrew their support to the coalition government. In a return of resort politics, all 104 BJP MLAs had stayed in a hotel in Gurugram for some days recently while the Congress too shifted its legislators to a resort.

Subsequently, the MLAs returned to the city last week. Four Congress MLAs had skipped a crucial legislature party meeting on January 18, indicating all is not well within the party. Operation Lotus is a reference to the BJP allegedly luring several opposition MLAs to resign their assembly membership and defect and win the election on the saffron party ticket later to ensure stability of its then-government headed

Yeddyurappa in 2008. In his media interaction Friday, Kumarasamy, without naming anyone, said: “he (the legislator) has already informed me.

The legislator has told them (BJP) that he dont want their gift and to leave him peacefully. It is not a small gift. From where it (gift) is coming to Yeddyurappa?

“As Chief Minister in 2008 he had made similar attempts- making MLAs as commodities for sale, he has continued his work, it is his addiction, what can I do for it,” he said responding to questions. Asked about the cost of the gift this time, he said, It is hard to guess, you will be surprised, but did not elaborate.

Strongly reacting to the charge, Yeddyurappa in a statement accused Kumaraswamy of attempting to divert people’s attention from his ‘failures’.

The Chief inister is making wild allegations against us. It is an attempt to divert peoples attention from his failures. Kumarswamy’s claims are baseless, and does not attract our reaction, he said. In fact it was CM himself who approached our Aland MLA (Guttedar Subhash Rukmayya) and tried to lure him, he alleged.

The former chief minister claimed that Kumaraswamy’s ‘frustration’ exposes everything was not all right in the ruling camp, Yeddyurappa said.

He sought to know how BJP was responsible if some Congress legislators were airing their ire against the CM? It is an open secret that more than 20 Congress legislators openly asked him to quit. The BJP leader alleged that neither the chief minister nor any minister visited drought-hit areas of the state to understand the severity of the situation.

“I am touring the state and in two days I toured three districts. So far government has not released enough funds to tackle the situation, especially situation is grave on drinking water front,” he said.

Kumaraswamy should pay attention to the drought situation instead of making such “silly allegations, he added. Earlier in the day, speaking to reporters in Kolar, Yeddyurappa said there was confusion within the Congress and the ruling alliance and their MLA and his party had nothing to do with it. “…let’s wait and watch- what will happen because of their confusion within…we are not playing any game, they (Congress-JD(S) are playing the game, lets wait and watch what will happen, he said in response to a question. He said there was no necessity for anyone to indulge in resort politics and the BJP with the support of the two independents now had a strength of 106 in the 224-member assembly.

“We will be in the opposition and do our duty. I have given this assurance publicly,” Yeddyurappa said.