Inside story of how Siddaramaiah led the operation against Operation Lotus
Bengaluru, Jan 17: For the BJP it was yet another failed attempt at installing the government in Karnataka. Despite being the single largest party in the state with 104 MLAs, the BJP's third attempt to form the government failed after the Congress rebels backtracked at the last moment.
For the Congress and JD(S), the Herculean task was to convince the rebels, who were upset after the Cabinet expansion. Some of them had rebelled after being left out and nearly 5 of them had been camping in Mumbai giving the coalition the jitters.
This time around, it was Siddaramaiah who stepped in to resolve the crisis. He along with Chief Minister, H D Kumaraswamy took the lead in pacifying the rebels, who the Congress claimed were in touch with the BJP.
In a bid to resolve the issue, a team comprising, Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah, D K Shivakumar, M B Patil, Zameer Ahmed and K J George was formed. Siddaramaiah while leading the talks explained to the rebels that their move would backfire. First and foremost they did not have the numbers. Secondly for the BJP to form the government at least 14 had to resign, Siddaramaiah explained.
He also explained to them that the Speaker could sit on the resignations apart from the fact that the anti-defection law could also come into play. He told them that the effort would be a futile one and if they resigned they would be neither here or there as the BJP clearly did not have the numbers to form the government.
Once the talks were held, the first MLA to come out of the camp was Bheema Naik. He said that he had gone to Goa with his friends. He also said that the BJP had been pestering him, but he was not joking them. Then began the march past with Pratapagouda Patil, Amaregouda Bayyapur and J N Ganesh also coming out of hiding. All of them clarified that they were not switching sides.
Sources said that the rebels were told that it would be difficult to accommodate them in the ministry as of now. They were told to be patient and remain with the side that is in power instead of resigning and being neither here nor there. During the talks with the senior leaders, they were also assured that they would have a say in transfers. Further and assurance was also given that they would be the final word in their constituencies and no minister would come in the way of their decisions. For now the rebels appeared to be happy with the assurance, the source also said.
For now the Congress and JD(S) has managed to beat the rebellion. The coalition has managed to convince four of them as a result of which the job for the BJP has become harder or next to impossible for now.
The suspense regarding the mastermind of the rebellion, Ramesh Jarkiholi still continues.
He still has by his side MLAs, Mahesh Kumatalli and B Nagendra by his side. Jarkiholi would need some more coaxing as his ego has been hurt after he was dropped from the Cabinet. Congress sources say that he too would be won over and it is just a matter of time. Siddaramaiah got in touch with Ramesh and said that his grievances would be addressed and he would personally ensure the same. President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, Dinesh Gundu Rao expressed confidence that Ramesh and his men would stay in the Congress.