K’taka BJP MLAs camp in Delhi as both BSY, HDK allege horse trading

NEW DELHI: Alleging that the ruling JD(S)-Congress coalition was trying to lure its MLAs in Karnataka, state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa on Monday said its 104 legislators are “united” and will camp in the national capital.

Yeddyurappa assertion comes hours after Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy stuck to his allegation that the BJP was trying to lure MLAs of the ruling combine and expressed confidence that none of them would switch sides.

“It is not us, but they (JDS-Congress) who have started horse trading. We will stay in Delhi one or two days because Kumaraswamy is trying his level best to contact our MLAs and horse trading has started,” Yeddyurappa told reporters after meeting state BJP MLAs and MPs here.

The BJP is “alert and careful” as the chief minister is trying to lure our MLAs using “power and money”, he said.

“Kumaraswamy is trying to contact BJP MLAs and has offered a ministerial post to a Kalburgi MLA,” he alleged and said the ruling combine is luring BJP state legislators despite having majority numbers.

The Karnataka MLAs had come to attend the two-day BJP national convention that concluded on Saturday. They stayed back to discuss separately the state developments, including the alleged horse trading by the ruling combine.

Asserting that the BJP’s house was in order, Yeddyurappa said, “Our MLAs are united and intact. We do not have any problem at all. Our MLAs are saying let us stay here for 2-3 days and then go to our constituencies.”

There will not be any “resort politics” and all the Bharatiya Janata Party state legislators will stay together at the Karnataka Bhavan and some may visit Gurgoan and come back, he added.

Stating that the ruling coalition government lacks unity, Yeddyurappa said, “They (JDS-Congress) are worried themselves. Three days back, the chief minister had said he does not have any power and cannot transfer a single official.”

The present government is not functioning at all in the state, which is facing drought in 160 tehsils and there are reports of farmers’ suicides, he alleged.

“There is no development in the state. They have wasted time in the last nine months. None of the departments are functioning properly. There is no unity among them,” he said.

Asked if he was desperate to become chief minister, the state BJP chief said that the question does not arise as the party is more focused about the general elections and is in the process of finalising candidates at the earliest for 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

“Now, we are worried about Parliament elections. We must win at least 20 seats … We have started our campaign. We are going to finalise the candidates as early as possible,” he added.

The state BJP chief said that the issues related to the Lok Sabha elections were discussed in detail since yesterday.

“We have received several suggestions. In a day or two, we will go to the state and begin the work in constituencies. We have got a direction from the BJP national president and we will implement it at the ground level,” Yeddyurappa added.

Kumaraswamy, meanwhile, claimed that there was no question of “instability” in the Congress-JD(S) dispensation as he played down reports about the BJP allegedly attempting ‘Operation Lotus’ to topple his government.

Speculations are rife that six to eight Congress MLAs are ready to jump ship to the BJP side. There are also reports that a few of them have gone incommunicado.

Asked about water resource minister D K Shivakumar’s claim that three Congress MLAs were camping at a hotel in Mumbai in the “company of some BJP leaders”, Kumaraswamy said, they were in constant touch with him.

Not revealing their names, he said “They are my friends. Those MLAs in Mumbai or 104 BJP MLAs who are in Delhi are all my people, so there is no question of instability to this government.”

“(The Congress) MLAs have gone to Mumbai after bringing it to my notice; they are in constant touch with me,” the chief minister said.

“I spoke to them at 7:30 in the morning. They have gone for personal reasons, and there is no need to add politics to it,” Kumaraswamy said.

“…if my government is facing instability, is it possible for me to be at ease?” he asked.

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