How Karnataka’s ‘lost and found’ MLAs are giving sleepless nights to the Cong-JD(S) coalition
Bengaluru, Sep 24: There is dissidence in the Karnataka Congress and the rocky road for the coalition government in Karnataka continues. With allegations and counter allegations of poaching, there is something really hilarious that is taking place in the state.
All the MLAs are marking a virtual attendance with their party leadership at all times. The moment one MLA does not answer the call or is out of station, it immediately leads to panic and rumour mongering about the MLA being poached.
The Congress and JD(S) which formed the government have been alleging that the BJP is looking to poach their MLAs. While the BJP has made it clear that it would not meddle in the coalition, the recent meeting of the party empowering Yeddyurappa to take a call on government formation has only added to the rumours of another "Operation Lotus."
Lost, found and panic:
After the government was formed, Siddaramaiah was the one who kept the rumour mills buzzing. His comments in Mangalore when he said that this government would not run its full course triggered off speculation that all was not hunky dory.
After the calm for sometime, he questioned the logic of a full budget and also the farm loan waiver, mooted by Karnataka Chief Minister, H D Kumaraswamy. This again led to rumours that the functioning of the government was not smooth.
The last shot that Siddaramaiah gave when he said that he could become the CM again. This led to a series of comments from his followers, who expressed hope that Siddaramaiah would take over. How and when would this happen? There was nothing said about this later.
Then came a revolt led by the Jarkiholi brothers. They claimed the support of 18 MLAs and said that they would pull out. From what they spoke, it was clear that they were in a position to shake up the coalition.
All these incidents have kept the fire in Karnataka burning. The panic levels among the parties is so high that, the leaders panic the moment some MLA does not answer the call. If the MLA is not in his constituency or at Bengaluru, it leads to further panic.
Take for instance the case of the three MLAs who had contested as independents, but subsequently joined the Congress. M T B Nagraj, D Sudhakar and H Nagesh created quite a flutter when they did not answer their calls. It was said that they were on their way to join the BJP. However the Congress managed to get in touch with them by evening on Saturday and confirmed that they were staying put.
Who is reaching out:
In the past two months, not a day has gone without the press reporting poaching rumours. The Congress and JD(S) have accused the BJP of trying to buy out their MLAs for costs as high as Rs 5 crore.
The BJP on the other hand denies these rumours and says that they are not fishing in the troubled waters of the Congress. It is the Congress MLAs who are offering to join us, several BJP leaders that OneIndia spoke with said.
While the Congress and JD(S) may have managed to tide over the storm, there is plenty in store in the days to come. The Cabinet expansion is round the corner and there are bound to several contenders. Both parties are gearing up for a fresh round of revolt as it would not be possible to accommodate each and every one.
While these would be internal battles that the two parties would have to sort out, the bigger problem could arise somewhere around 2019 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. With a common vote bank in the South of Karnataka, both the Congress and JD(S) would be in a tussle over seat sharing. The two parties had announced that the elections in 2019 would be contested jointly.