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Trouble in Karnataka: As ‘Operation Lotus’ rumours do the rounds, Congress and JDS indulge in mudslinging

The Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka has not been a rippleless one ever since the two have stitched up this awkward coalition with the sole purpose to keep BJP out of Karnataka

Karnataka Water Resources minister DK Shivakumar on Sunday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party was indulging in horse-trading and were luring three of its MLAs to camp at a Mumbai hotel in the “company of some BJP leaders”, PTI reported.

Shivakumar said the development was part of BJP’s “Operation Lotus” which is aimed at ousting the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress government in the state.

“Three of our MLAs are in Mumbai in a hotel with some BJP MLAs and leaders,” the Congress leader alleged. “We are aware of what has transpired there and how much has been offered to them.”

Operation Lotus was a reference made by the Congress for the BJP in 2008, allegedly luring several opposition leaders to defect and join them, to guarantee stability to its government headed by B S Yeddyurappa in Karnataka then.

In what could be interpreted as internal discord, the Congress leader DK Shivakumar blamed JD(S) leader and present CM, Kumaraswamy of being extremely permissive towards his opponent (BJP). “Our chief minister is a bit lenient towards the BJP,” Shivakumar said. “By ‘lenient’, I mean he is not exposing the facts he knows. All the MLAs have conveyed to the chief minister about the ongoing conspiracies. They have also told the Congress leader and former Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah about it.”

He further blamed the CM of unnecessarily procrastinating the issue, “The chief minister is adopting a policy of wait and watch,” Shivakumar said. “If I was in his place, I would have exposed it within 24 hours.”

However, the Congress leader claimed that the BJP would not succeed in its attempt as Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao had informed the income tax department and the anti-corruption bureau about the matter. “We do not know what progress these two agencies have made so far, but sitting on the complaint by a political party is not good,” he said.

But in a twist of events, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy denied the rumour of any attempt to poach MLAs. He said ‘I don’t know who is spreading this news, there is no truth to the claims’.

He said that the 3 Congress MLAs went to Mumbai after informing him, and they are in continuously in contact with him.

Kumaraswamy also launched an attack on ally partner Congress over seat-sharing arrangement for the Lok Sabha elections. He said that ‘Congress should not treat JD(S) like third-grade citizens’.

The Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka has not been a smooth one ever since the two have stitched up this awkward coalition with the sole purpose to keep BJP out of power in Karnataka.

Recently, Kumaraswamy’s predicaments with the Congress laid bare when he claimed that he was being treated like a clerk instead of a chief minister. However, this was not the first time Chief Minister Kumaraswamy has lamented over his discomfort to work with the Congress party. Earlier in July, expressing his unhappiness over the coalition government, Kumaraswamy had cried saying he was unhappy and swallowing the poison of a coalition government.

Along with several disclosures of rifts within the JD(S)-Congress alliance doing the rounds, continuous news of many regional leaders distancing themselves from the party have emerged in the past.

The dissent between the two parties had surfaced in June too, following the Cabinet announcement of the HD Kumaraswamy led Karnataka government, when several Congress leaders, as well as members of the JD(S), had expressed their displeasure over the allocation of ministerial berths.

It has also been reported how SR Patil, the working President of Karnataka North Congress, had submitted his resignation by supposedly taking responsibility for the poor performance of his party in the state.

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