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Operation Lotus on back burner? Why BJP decided to stay away from Karnataka MLC poll

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Bengaluru, Sep 25: Amidst all the drama that is taking place in Karnataka, the BJP has decided to give the legislative council polls a miss. With this, the MLC polls would be a mere formality and the candidature of two Congressmen Naseer Ahmed and M C Venugopal and JD(S) nominee Ramesh Gowda would go through without any trouble.

C P Yogehswar and Malaikaiah Guttedar

The October 4 battle would have been a keenly watched one had the BJP gone ahead with its plans of fielding C P Yogehswar and Malaikaiah Guttedar. There was heavy speculation that there could be cross voting in favour of the BJP candidates and this would have tested to what extent the dissidence was within the Congress and JD(S).

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Both the BJP's candidates were told to keep their nominations ready by Sunday. However at the last minute it was decided that they would be take part in the elections.

Strategy or no strategy?

The decision by the BJP to stay away could have many reasons behind it. First and foremost the party top brass indicated that candidates should be fielded only if they had a 100 per cent chance of winning the elections.

The BJP was banking on the dissidence within the Congress led by the Jarkiholi brothers. However the Congress managed to pull that off at the last minute and managed to pacify the rebels. If both the Congress and JD(S) MLAs had not cross voted, then the BJP would not have had the numbers to pull off the elections.

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This move by the BJP has sent out mixed signals among its legislators. Many wonder if this is part of a larger strategy or the party lacked the confidence to win the elections. In the elections, each candidate requires 112 votes to win. The BJP has only 104 MLAs as opposed to the joint strength of 118 enjoyed by the JD(S) and Congress.

A senior BJP leader tells OneIndia that the party did not want to risk the elections. It is focusing on the 2019 elections and is hopeful that this coalition in Karnataka would fall sooner or later. For now the coalition has managed to keep its flock together and in such a scenario, it would have been impossible for the BJP to win the polls, without the help of cross voting.

Moreover throwing the hat into the ring would expose the numbers clearly. This would have looked bad for the party considering it was making tall claims of having the support of several Congress MLAs, who in turn would help them pull down the government. The BJP leader said that there was no point in giving this a shot since the Congress had managed to quell the dissidence within the party.

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This move comes as a setback for the BJP. In the past couple of weeks, the party appeared to be aggressive and looked as though it had the government on the mat. However this decision to stay away from the MLC polls is only an indicator that the party has kept aside its decision of engineering a fall of the government.

The elections are being held to fill in the vacancies following the resignations of BJP leaders, K S Eshwarappa and V Somanna and Deputy Chief Minister Dr. G Parameshwar, who were elected to the legislative assembly in the recently held Karnataka elections.

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