Wary of 'lotus', Congmen lay siege to CM's house

Rumour of MLA poaching by BJP triggers protest

Wary of 'lotus', Congmen  lay siege to CM's house

The Congress was rattled by rumours that the BJP had been attempting to lure six Congress MLAs –– K B Chandrashekhar (K R Pet), Raheem Khan (Bidar),  Ramaswamy Gowda (Kunigal), Suresh Gowda Nagamangala), Narayanaswamy (Bangarpet) and S V Ramachandra (Jagalur). Of them, Ramachandra has been missing from the Congress camp since Tuesday morning.

A Congress leader claimed that the MLAs, who were identified as “vulnerable” to the lure of money, were being offered not less than Rs 25 crore to 30 crore. Many MLAs fear that Yeddyurappa might dissolve the Assembly in a couple of months, forcing them to take “desperate measures.”  

What left the Congress leaders fuming on the streets for well over two hours was the speculation that its MLA Ramachandra had already been poached by the BJP. There were rumours that he had sent his resignation letter to the Speaker in the afternoon. This came as a rude shock to the Congress leaders, who were camping in a star hotel.

Till late in the evening, the Speaker’s office said it had not received the resignation. The MLA remained incommunicado throughout the day.  Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, KPCC president R V Deshpande and about 100 others camped near the chief minister’s residence on Race Course Road and raised slogans against the BJP for indulging in “Operation Lotus.”

Their attempt to meet Yeddyurappa went in vain. The protest continued for a couple of hours in the evening and later the leaders courted arrest. The police released the leaders after lodging them for sometime in a make-shift jail at Audugodi and CPRM on Mysore Road.

Siddaramaiah alleged that the ruling party, instead of giving good governance, was busy poaching MLAs from other parties. “Because of the earlier Operation Lotus, the BJP is in a pitiable situation now. If the party continues with the operation,  the situation will get worse,” he said.

Corruption charges

“Karnataka is listed by many publications as the most corrupt State in the country. The government is involved in many scams. The government is insensitive to the people’s problems. The government has turned a blind eye to the problems faced by the masses.

It is better for the BJP to dissolve the Assembly and seek a fresh mandate instead of indulging in horse trading,” Siddaramaiah added.  D K Shivakumar, MLA, warned that protests would be organised at all the programmes to be attended by the chief minister. 

He said the Congress was aware that BJP leaders from Davangere, including G M Siddeshwara, MP and minister M P Renukacharya, were making efforts to lure the MLA. The BJP top brass remained non-committal on whether the MLA had tendered his resignation at their behest. BJP State President K S Eshwarappa said the Congress was not in a position to contain its internal bickering. Hence, it was unnecessarily blaming the BJP.

While the BJP denied charges that it was indulging in horse trading, sources in the party said it would hit back at the Opposition for trying to destabilise the government.
Requesting anonymity,  a top party leader said the plan was to give the Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress a taste of their own medicine. He pointed out that the Opposition had almost succeeded in their plan by enticing 11 BJP legislators and the five Independents into their fold.
 

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