Coup a flop: Cong; game's not over: BJP

Coup a flop: Cong; game's not over: BJP

AICC General Secretary and Karnataka in charge, K C Venugopal talking to media after the KPCC leaders meeting, at Kumara Krupa guest house, in Bengaluru on Wednesday. DH photo

The Congress declared on Wednesday that the BJP’s attempted coup to reduce the coalition government to a minority had failed. But some uncertainty loomed as BJP legislators were asked to stay put in Gurugram with an assurance from their leader B S Yeddyurappa that something was still in the works.

AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, who had been camping in Bengaluru since Monday, left the city saying the BJP had failed in making its Operation Kamala (poaching of legislators) a success. “The coalition will last next four years. We are in contact with every MLA. All will be okay,” Venugopal said. The Congress will hold statewide protests against the BJP on Thursday, he added.

Yeddyurappa, who visited New Delhi to discuss the situation with the party’s central leadership, is said to have told his legislators that “it was a matter of time” before eight Congress legislators resigned, reducing the coalition government to a minority.

Apparently, the BJP central leadership has a communication channel open with Congress’ Belagavi strongman Ramesh Jarkiholi, who is believed to be assisting the coup attempt. While the Congress is said to be trying to bring Jarkiholi back, the former minister seems adamant as he has been miffed with the party for quite some time now. Also, the BJP is said to be wary of attempts by the JD(S) to poach some of their MLAs. 

It was business as usual for Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy as he commenced pre-budget meetings. “Everything is under control. Don’t worry,” he said. “We have asked BJP leaders to stay in a resort. They are relaxing there. So, I request the media not to fool yourselves and the people of the state.”

In a show of confidence, Congress showcased before reporters legislators like Hagaribommanahalli’s Bheema Naik and Raichur Rural’s Basanagouda Daddal — they were speculated to have been under the BJP’s poaching radar. Other “missing” MLAs will also return, party leaders asserted.

Kumaraswamy, along with Venugopal, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar reached out to disgruntled legislators and managed to convince them to stay on, sources said. 

The Congress has convened its legislature party meeting on January 18 to keep its flock together. Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah said legislators skipping the meeting will face action under the anti-defection law.

To woo back two MLAs who pulled out of the coalition —
independent H Nagesh and KPJP’s former minister R Shankar — the Congress sent them feelers, promising to fulfil their demands. Congress MP K H Muniyappa said the party will meet them halfway.