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BJP versus JD(S): Political war escalates in Karnataka; no end in sight


Bengaluru, Sep 22: The war of words between Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who is struggling to keep the coalition intact and BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa for the last few days has reached a peak leading to fluid political situation in Karnataka.

Yeddyurappa and Kumaraswamy

While JD(S) sought the speaker's intervention to foil BJP attempts to get ruling party MLAs to resign, the BJP urged the governor to take steps to prosecute Kumaraswamy under the sedition law for saying he would have to ask people to revolt against the saffron party if it persisted with attempts to destablise the government.

"You are aware of efforts of the BJP to poach Congress and JD(S) MLAs by offering huge money," JD(S) spokesperson Ramesh Babu said in a letter to speaker. "Many MLAs are on record on this. In a democracy, MLAs resigning due to the lure of money is a shameful act. We request you not to allow any MLA to resign under pressure, duress or for any kind of allurement."

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Continuing his attack on Karnataka CM, Yeddyurappa on Saturday termed the attempts of the Chief Minister calling the people to 'revolt' against the BJP as " Nero was fiddling when Rome was burning. The Farm loan waiver announced by the government was farce,'' he alleged.

He said when Farmers in the State commiting suicide, ''our Chief minister H.D.Kumaraswamy is roaming around the state visiting temples and attacking Opposition BJP to suppress his failures. Whenever BJP and I criticised him on his failure to govern the state and mitigate farmers and poor peoples sufferings , he comes out with an alibi that BJP is trying to destabilise his government''.

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The former Chief Minister said Karnataka was facing a grim situation on the farm and peoples front but Kumaraswamy failed to address the concerns of the farmers and common people.

It all started when Kumaraswamy, in a fit of anger had asked the people to revolt against the BJP for trying to topple his Government but later he said his statement was misquoted. Yeddyurappa too charged JD(S) and Kumaraswamy as commission agents.

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The BJP termed the use of the word 'revolt' as "seditious" and appealed to Governor Vajubhai Vala to initiate action against the CM. Soon after the CM's statement, there was a snap protest by a few Congress workers at the residence of BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa. The saffron party has also threatened to take legal action against Kumaraswamy.

Operation Kamala surfaces

The Congress and HD Kumaraswamy's JDS has alleged that the BJP is trying to destabilise its three-month-old alliance government in Karnataka by attempting to poach on its lawmakers. JDS leader and minister Sa Ra Mahesh has told reporters that the BJP has been trying to pull another "Operation Kamala" -- a term coined in 2008 when the BJP, three seats short of majority, had managed to secure support of lawmakers from rival parties and form the government.

Sedition charges against Kumaraswamy

Countering the JDS, the BJP approached Governor Vajubhai Vala and DGP Neelamani N Raju with whom it filed a complaint of sedition against the chief minister, besides staging a protest against HD Kumaraswamy over his remarks.

In their letter to the Governor, the BJP demanded that he take action to prosecute the chief minister for his statement 'to wage a war'.

Congress, JD(S) draw up plan to tackle BJP threat

Alliance partners Congress and the JD(S) have chalked out a plan to keep their house in order and to prevent the BJP from poaching their legislators.

Both parties want to make sure all legislators are together, especially ahead of the crucial Legislative Council bypolls. The alliance partners are apprehensive of cross-voting because secret ballots will be used.

Top coalition leaders, including Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah and Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar, discussed ways to deal with the situation at the latter's residence Friday.

Siddaramaiah- go-to-man during crisis

The political crisis that has pushed the coalition government to the brink seems to have come as a blessing in disguise for former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. With the Congress itself assigning him the task of defusing the crisis hours after he returned from his Europe trip, the developments have helped him reassert his position as the party's "go-to man" in Karnataka.

Kumaraswamy advised to be careful with his words

Some Congress leaders and Ministers are said to have expressed their displeasure with Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy's statement calling for a "revolt" against the BJP for its alleged attempts to topple the government.

They have reportedly told the CM that such a statement would damage the image of the party and the government. Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is also said to be unhappy with the turn of events, and has told Kumaraswamy to mind is words when speaking to the media.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dinesh Gundu Rao said there was "no need to make a big issue" out of the comment. He pointed out that many BJP leaders, including K.S. Eshwarappa, Nalin Kumar Kateel, Shobha Karandlaje, and Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde, have made controversial statements in the past.

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