14/01/2019 1:26 PM IST

Karnataka Govt Accuses BJP Of 'Horse Trading'; BJP Leader Hits Back

Karnataka Water Resource minister DK Shivakumar said BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ to topple the state’s coalition government was for real.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah.

There have been speculations about the coalition government of the Congress and the JD(S) in Karnataka being unstable since its formation in 2018. 

Karnataka Water Resource minister DK Shivakumar’s accusations against the BJP of “horse-trading” on Sunday added more fuel to the speculation, with Union Minister and BJP leader DV Sadananda Gowda saying that Congress should keep its house in order. 

“They are not able to keep their MLAs in Karnataka together and just simply pin pointing at BJP,” he was quoted as saying by ANI

Reports suggest that speculation is rife of the BJP trying to woo MLAs from the ruling combine and toppling the state government. 

This started after Shivakumar on Sunday said the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ to topple the state’s coalition government was for real, alleging that three Congress MLAs were camping in a hotel in Mumbai in the “company of some BJP leaders”.

“Horse trading is going on in the state. Three of our MLAs are in Mumbai in a hotel with some BJP MLAs and leaders. We are aware of what has transpired there and how much has been offered to them,” he said. 

Operation Lotus is a reference to the BJP allegedly luring several opposition MLAs to defect to ensure stability of its then-government headed by BS Yeddyurappa in Karnataka in 2008.

The minister said former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao were aware of the development.

Shivakumar, however, said he was confident that the BJP would not succeed in its attempt.

“You have been saying that a ‘kranti’ (revolution) may happen after Makar Sankranti. Let us see. It is not so easy because there is already anti-defection law in place, but we are aware of what you are hinting at,” he said in an apparent reference to the opposition BJP in the state.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, in an interview with PTI on Monday, also accused the BJP of attempting to destabilise his government by trying to poach coalition MLAs.  

“I know who they (BJP) are approaching, what they have offered to MLAs. I am collecting all the news and doing whatever (possible) from my side to see to that BJP does not disturb the government...” he said.

Later, he said that the three MLAs are in touch with him and went to Mumbai after informing him.  

Sources close to BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa said nearly 20 MLAs were ready to resign and switch camps, reported The Hindu.

(With PTI inputs)