Cong ministers offer to quit, JD(S) plots hard

Cong ministers offer to quit, JD(S) plots hard

COMBAT PLAN: Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy (centre) with deputy G Parameshwara (right) and Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar in Bengaluru on Monday.

At least four Congress ministers offered to step down on Monday if that would help keep the coalition with the JD(S) intact, signifying an increased level of panic over the BJP’s alleged attempts to stage a post-Sankranti coup.

The threat of the BJP’s Operation Kamala — an exercise to poach rival party MLAs — was discussed during a breakfast meeting Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara hosted for Congress ministers on Monday.

The entire rank and file of the BJP has been camping in New Delhi for the last three days where it is supposedly chalking out a plan to dislodge the Congress-JD(S) coalition. The BJP MLAs left for Gurugram in the evening and are expected to stay there for two more days.

But the Congress is desperate to make sure its coalition with the JD(S) is secure going into the Lok Sabha polls.

“The BJP is luring some of our MLAs by promising them ministerial berths. So, we said we are willing to sacrifice in the larger interest of the party,” a Congress minister said, requesting anonymity.

Three to four Congress legislators, including former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, are said to have camped in Mumbai.

“We don’t know why they’ve gone to Mumbai. Maybe they’re holidaying or visiting temples. But we have confidence in our MLAs that they won’t join the BJP. We’ll see what needs to be done to bring them back,” Parameshwara told reporters. “The BJP is trying its best. They’re saying this government will fall. This government is secure and at no cost will it become insecure,” the minister said.

Operation JD(S)?

While the Congress is busy combating the Sankranti coup, its coalition partner, on the other hand, is gearing up for ‘Operation JD(S)’ in a bid to counter the BJP’s strategies.

According to sources, the JD(S) has zeroed in on at least five BJP MLAs, who are said to be willing to jump ship to the regional party, if things go awry for the coalition government.

While the operation is said to be led by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, three of his trusted lieutenants, who are also his ministerial colleagues — Sa Ra Mahesh, C S Puttaraju and Bandeppa Kashempur — have been given the responsibility to lasso in the MLAs, if such a situation arises.

Two MLAs are said to be from the north Karnataka region, while three MLAs are said to be from the old Mysore region.

Kashempur’s statements in Vijayapura add credence to these speculations.

“It’s only a matter of time before the BJP MLAs themselves desert their party. Once they realise that the government is stable, they will themselves come towards us.

The BJP has been parroting that it will topple the government for the last seven months; not a single Congress or JD(S) MLA will defect to the saffron party,” he said.


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