BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa remained closeted at his Dollar’s Colony residence in Bengaluru to witness what is being dubbed as his party’s well-crafted strategy to reduce the coalition government to a minority.
Yeddyurappa, who was huddled with BJP MLAs in a Gurugram resort for the last four days, returned to Bengaluru to visit the ailing Siddaganga Mutt seer Shivakumara Swamiji in Tumakuru on Thursday. He decided to remain in Bengaluru.
According to sources, besides Yeddyurappa, only three others in the state unit of the party — Jagadish Shettar, Aravind Limbavali and Shobha Karandalje — knew about the finer points of the present edition of ‘Operation Kamala’ of poaching MLAs.
Sources said the BJP power brokers reached out to a total of 12 disgruntled Congress legislators. The party opened a channel of communication with Gokak legislator Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was fuming at being dropped from the H D Kumaraswamy Cabinet. Jarkiholi managed to build a group of six disgruntled legislators.
The party drew first blood when independent MLAs H Nagesh from Mulbagal and former minister R Shankar (Ranebennur) withdrew support from the coalition government.
Sources said the BJP will convince Umesh Jadhav, Ramesh Jarkiholi, B Nagendra and Mahesh Kumathalli, who kept away from the CLP, to resign. To precipitate the crisis further, four more will be convinced to put in their papers in the next phase. The Congress’ move to ferry all its legislators to a resort has come as a surprise to BJP power brokers.
BJP MLAs in Gurugram have been asked to stay there for the next two days. There is also a plan where a few disgruntled legislators may not be asked to resign, but cross-vote in the event of a floor test.
Yeddyurappa told reporters in Bengaluru on Friday evening that four Congress legislators staying away from the crucial legislature party meeting indicated that there was indeed disgruntlement among its MLAs.
CLP leader Siddaramaiah had even threatened his party MLAs with the anti-defection law if they skipped the meet but to no avail. It was the Congress’ responsibility to keep its flock together and his party had nothing to do with the confusion in the ruling coalition. He also said the charges that the BJP was trying to poach Congress MLAs were far from the truth.