Speculations rife on 'Operation Lotus'

Speculations rife on 'Operation Lotus'

BJP leader B Sriramulu. (DH File Photo)

Speculations were rife in political circles on Monday following a leaked audio clip which purportedly suggests that BJP has renewed efforts to convince Congress legislators to switch parties.

The unverified audio clip reportedly records a conversation between former minister and BJP leader B Sriramulu’s associate in Bengaluru and a Dubai-based businessman, believed to be Sriramulu’s friend.

The clip is believed to have been recorded on November 28 and purportedly has Sriramulu associate stating that 10 Congress MLAs were ready to jump ship and join the BJP. This move is dubbed as ‘Operation Lotus’ in political circles. The associate also talks about paying Rs 20 to 25 crore for each MLA and also a ministerial berth.

He also talks about BJP state President B S Yeddyurappa, former minister G Janardhana Reddy and Municipal Administration Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi holdings talks. Speaking to reporters, Sriramulu denied any efforts to poach Congress MLAs.

Siddaramaiah’s charge

Meanwhile, in Mangaluru, former chief minister and Chairman of the Coordination Committee of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government Siddaramaiah accused the BJP of destabilising the government. 

“We have information that MLAs are offered Rs 25 crore to join the BJP. Where does the money come for Operation Kamala (Lotus)? Whose money is it?” he asked while speaking to reporters.

“The BJP had made a futile attempt to come to power in the past. One needs to accept the fact that they do not have the majority. They should be ashamed to say that they will destabilise the government. They (BJP) will not be successful in destabilising the coalition government in the state,” he said. 

“There is no dissent among the Congress MLAs. The rumour that MLA Satish Jarkiholi will take Congress MLAs to resort is far from the truth,” he said.

To a question on BJP leader K S Eshwarappa’s challenge to Congress to face the election by promising to construct Babri masjid, Siddaramaiah said, “Eshwarappa is a brainless man.”