After finding itself dragged into a controversy over its role in an attempt to destabilise the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka, the state unit of Opposition BJP on Saturday recalled all party MLAs who were camping in Gurgaon, near the national capital, over the past few days amid a political crisis in the state following rebellion by a few Congress legislators.
The BJP in Karnataka also announced plans for state unit president B S Yeddyurappa and other party leaders to travel to drought-affected districts in the state.
“State party president B S Yeddyurappa has asked all BJP MLAs who are in Delhi to return,’’ the party said in a statement. “A seven-member team of BJP leaders, led by Yeddyurappa, will tour four drought-hit districts of the state starting Monday.”
Yeddyurappa may have dreamed too big
Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa’s hopes that a rebellion in the Congress last week would grow large enough to offer him an opportunity to become Karnataka CM again has been extinguished with the Congress managing to thwart a large-scale rebellion for the time being. Yeddyurappa’s hopes were far-fetched, given that at least 11 of 79 Congress MLAs needed to quit Assembly and contest the polls again on BJP tickets, while the threat of disqualification under the anti-defection law hung over their heads. With what appears to be a close Lok Sabha polls not far in the horizon, many feel Yeddyurappa dreamed a dream too big.
On Saturday, Yeddyurappa said, “We will not try to destabilise this government for any reason. We will work as the Opposition. Let the Congress-JD(S) leaders not have any doubt about it.”
Welcoming Yeddyurappa’s announcement, Congress party leader in state Assembly and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the BJP must ensure that it sticks to the statement in its action.
The ruling combine in Karnataka had accused the BJP of triggering a rebellion in the coalition ranks to destabilise the government after six Congress MLAs went incommunicado last week, and two Independent MLAs withdrew support to the coalition. The BJP has denied the allegation.
Taking a dig at the BJP, Congress and JD(S) leaders in Karnataka have also said the saffron party put up its MLAs in luxury resorts in Delhi and Gurgaon even as parts of the state are affected by drought conditions.
The Congress, which moved 75 MLAs who attended a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Friday to Eagleton Resort near Bengaluru, continued discussions with them at the resort on Saturday. “Strategies for the Lok Sabha polls were discussed and an open forum was created for MLAs to air their grievances and concerns in the party and the coalition,’’ a source in the Congress said.
Out of 79 Congress legislators in Karnataka, two were absent from Friday’s CLP meet without responding to notices. Two other MLAs had excused themselves, citing illness and a court hearing. The Congress MLAs are expected to remain at the resort for one more day. Party general secretary and Karnataka in-charge, K C Venugopal, will hold discussions with the MLAs individually to “assess the Parliamentary election scenario”, Congress leaders said.
Given the recent crisis and the slim majority the coalition enjoys now – it has 117 MLAs in the 224-member House, where 113 is the halfway mark – the Congress is not likely to field any MLAs as candidates in the Lok Sabha Parliament polls, contrary to some speculation that MLAs from Belagavi and Uttara Kannada region may be fielded in the upcoming General Election.