Horse trading is on in the State though one can’t establish it with a proof. A few MLAs have come out openly to state that leaders of rival parties attempted to lure them, while some are found ‘not reachable’ to leaders of their parent parties.
The ruling BJP is now looking for some disgruntled and greedy-for-power MLAs in the Opposition camp. Because Yeddyurappa is seen as leader of Lingayats in the State, the BJP is trying to lure Lingayat MLAs in Congress and JD(S). JD(S) MLA S K Basavarajan, a Lingayat, told media that Water Resources minister Basavaraj Bommai did contact him and appealed him to support the BJP. Congress MLA B K Sangamesh, another Lingayat, also told reporters that Yeddyurappa’s son and Lok Sabha member B Y Raghavendra spoke to him over phone and offered Rs 25 crore to support the BJP. It is said that some of the Lingayat MLAs in the JD(S) were also contacted by BJP leaders.
Raheem Khan, Congress MLA from Bidar, admitted that top leaders of the BJP offered him a huge money. Khan told media that he was contacted by BJP leaders through telephone and somebody met him personally.
“They offered me huge money that I can’t imagine possessing even in my dream,” Khan said. But he did not disclose names of those who contacted him. But, he made it clear that he would never ditch the Congress party. Similarly, JD(S) and Congress leaders are also making efforts to keep the BJP’s rebel camp intact.
All the three parties have moved to resorts to keep their flock together. A few MLAs gave tense moments to their party leaders by remaining incommunicado. The Congress leadership was worried on Thursday after Kunigal MLA B B Ramaswamy Gowda was ‘not reachable’ and did not attend the CLP meeting held at a resort.
Former ministers Dr G Parameshwara and T B Jayachandra were entrusted with the responsibility of bringing him back. Gowda joined the partymen late in the evening and left for Amby Valley near Pune.
Similarly, JD(S) leaders had some anxious moments after Channapatna MLA M C Ashwath went missing for the last two days. His cell phone was switched off when party MP Cheluvarayaswamy and others tried to contact him.
Party workers staged a dharan in front of his house in Channapatna demanding that he should return to constituency immediately and be with JD(S) leaders. However, party leaders later in the day confirmed that Ashwath had been on a visit to temples in Kerala and would come back. JD(S) MLAs are all camping at 37 Crescent Hotel in Bangalore.