BJP has started contacting our MLAs again: KPCC chief

KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao. (DH file photo)

The BJP has started contacting Congress legislators for another round of Operation Kamala (poaching), Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao claimed on Tuesday. 

“Some MLAs are telling us that they’re being approached. The BJP is scared of losing the bypolls,” Rao told a news conference. 

Of the 15 constituencies facing bypolls, the BJP needs to win at least 6-7 to secure a majority in the Assembly. 

“I am warning the BJP...if you try to do another Operation Kamala, people will not spare you. People will chase you on the streets,” Rao said. “Certainly, the BJP won’t have a majority after the bypolls. They need 112, but they will remain at 105,” he said. 

The Congress has accused the BJP of poaching 17 legislators, whose disqualification led to the fall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition. The disqualification also reduced the effective strength of the Assembly, enabling the 105-member BJP to form the government.  

Rao also claimed that three of the disqualified MLAs - ST Somashekhar (Yeshwantpur), Byrathi Basavaraj (KR Puram) and Munirathna (Rajarajeshwari Nagar) - had developed cold feet. “They wanted to come back to the party fold. But we refused to take them back,” Rao said. 

The BJP, Rao charged, was fighting the bypolls on the strength of money and caste. “They are living in fear,” he said. “They’re spending Rs 50-60 crore in each constituency to buy votes.” 

Rao hit out at Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and Law Minister JC Madhuswamy for seeking the support of the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community. “The BJP has realized that the wave is against them. But then, how can the CM seek votes based on caste? We demand that he be booked under the Representation of the People Act so that he faces imprisonment of three years,” he said. “Are Lingayats the property of the BJP? Shouldn’t they vote for other parties? I’m confident all communities will reject such politics,” he added. 

Asked about the possibility of the Congress allying with the JD(S) again, Rao said: “Our priority is to defeat the BJP. After that, we will discuss with our leadership. In politics, decisions are made based on circumstances.”

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