Hours after Karnataka water resources minister DK Shivakumar alleged that the BJP was trying to break away three Congress MLAs in a bid to topple the coalition government in the state, Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy clarified that all three MLAs were in contact with him and that there was no threat to his government.
“All 3 of them (Congress MLAs) are continuously in contact with me. They went to Mumbai after informing me. My government isn’t under any threat. I know who all BJP is trying to contact and what they’re offering. I can handle it,” Kumaraswamy said.
Earlier, Shivakumar had accused the BJP?of indulging in horsetrading as part of its “Operation Lotus”.
“Horse trading is going on in the state. Three of our MLAs are in Mumbai in a hotel with some BJP MLAs and leaders,” he said alleging that the BJP was trying to “destabilise” the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S)-Congress coalition government by poaching the legislators.
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At the same time, Shivakumar criticised the Karnataka chief minister for being too “lenient” on the BJP and said that the CM should expose the BJP as quickly as possible.
“By ‘lenient’, I mean he is not exposing the facts he knows. All the MLAs have conveyed to the chief minister about the ongoing conspiracies…The chief minister is adopting a policy of wait and watch. If I was in his place, I would have exposed it within 24 hours,” he said.
The BJP in turn responded to Shivakumar’s horsetrading charges and said that the party should keep its house in order instead of pointing fingers.
“They (Congress) should keep their house in order. They are not able to keep their MLAs in Karnataka together and just simply pin pointing at BJP,” Union Minister and BJP leader DV Sadananda Gowda said while reacting to Shivakumar’s statement.
The Karnataka Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara reiterated Kumaraswamy’s statement that there was no threat to the state government.
“BJP leaders are saying this government will fall. But it won’t happen. Some of our MLAs have gone, they can go for temples, holiday, family outings, we don’t know. Nobody said that they’re going to join BJP and destabilise the govt. All our MLAs are intact,” Parameshwara said.
Earlier in the day, Kumaraswamy had, in an interview to PTI, said that the Congress should not treat his party, the JDS, as “third grade citizens” where seat sharing was concerned.
He said that if the Congress wanted to defeat the BJP, it should present a united front with the JDS and should adopt a “give and take policy”.
The JDS and Congress had fought a bitter contest during the elections in May 2018, but had come together after the election results threw up a hung assembly with no party winning a clear majority. The Congress had won 80 seats with the JDS winning 37 seats. Together they had 117 seats of the 225 seat assembly. The BJP had won 104 seats.
Reacting to the Congress’s allegations of horsetrading, former Karnataka CM and BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa said that the BJP was only interested in keeping its cadres energised.
“There is no truth to all these rumours (of reports of 3 Congress MLAs in touch with BJP). This is between Congress and JDS. We are not in touch with any of their MLAs. We are only focused on keeping our MLAs energised,” Yeddyurappa said.
First Published: Jan 14, 2019 14:11 IST