Karnataka Minister alleges poaching of Congress MLAs by BJP

Bengaluru: Karnataka Minister D.K. Shivakumar on Monday alleged that the BJP was trying to poach the state’s Congress legislators.

“Three of our MLAs are in Mumbai. We (Congress) are aware of the horse trading that is being attempted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Our legislators have also admitted to being approached by the BJP,” Minister for Irrigation Shivakumar told the media in Bengaluru.A

The BJP was trying to “destabilise” the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S)-Congress coalition government by poaching the legislators, he alleged.

Shivakumar, however, did not name the MLAs who were reportedly approached by the BJP.

The Congress leader spoke to the media ahead of a meeting held in Bengaluru by the party’s senior leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and state unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao.

The agenda of the meeting held and the outcome were not disclosed by the party leaders.

The ruling coalition partner JD-S leader and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, however, asserted that the government continues to remain stable.

“All the legislators are in touch with us and we are certain of the stability of the coalition government,” Kumaraswamy told the media.

Meanwhile, the BJP flayed the coalition government for blaming the BJP to hide its failures.

“Daily activity of Kumaraswamy government…Cry Operation Kamala (referring to alleged poaching by the BJP), hide failure to run government by blaming BJP. Fight among themselves for power…,” the party’s state unit tweeted on the issue.

Speaking to media in New Delhi later, BJP’s Karnataka unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa rubbished Congress’ allegations of poaching.

“These allegations of poaching are only rumours and there is no truth to it,” Yeddyurappa told reporters in New Delhi.

The BJP’s MPs and legislators from the southern state are in the national capital to meet its leadership ahead of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections in April-May.

In the 225-member Karnataka Assembly, the Congress has 80 MLAs including the Speaker, the JD-S 37 and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 104.