Karnataka election drama: Stage set for horse trading and resort politics.

BJP begins back-channel talks eyes Lingayat MLAs to engineer defection
Karnataka Elections Politics Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 18:28

A political thriller is unravelling in Karnataka and the BJP, JD(S) and Congress are going to great lengths to ensure that they form the next government in the state. 

The BJP which is the single largest party, is short of 8 seats to attain the magic number and party insiders say that talks have already begun with several Congress and JDS MLAs.

According to highly placed sources in the BJP, the party is in talks with over 10 Congress MLAs and around 5 JD(S) legislators. 

Sources in the Congress say that a senior Congress leader and two independent MLAs are not indifferent towards a plum offer from the BJP. 

“The BJP has offered DK Shivakumar the post of Deputy Chief Minister. As of now, he is with us. But if he is not happy with the deal made, then he may join BJP,” a Congress source said. 

The BJP high command has also directed Prakash Javadekar to come to Bengaluru to handle the situation. 

Party insiders say that they are going to have talks with disgruntled Lingayat MLAs from the Congress who may jump ship with the right incentive. BS Yeddyurappa, who had stage managed 'Operation Lotus' in 2008 and engineered many defections from the Congress, is already in talks with Lingayat MLAs. The fact that a Vokkaliga leader like Kumaraswamy becomes CM may be unacceptable to a few of these MLAs. 

However, talks are also on in the Congress about shifting their legislators to resorts in Punjab or Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile the JD(S) is also looking for resorts in and around Bengaluru to lodge their MLAs and keep them out of the BJP’s reach. 

The BJP is also hoping that the Governor would grant permission to them to prove majority on the floor of the House. 

“Obviously there are legislators on the other side who want to quit. The leaders in Delhi are all huddled up to take a call on this. We will know everything in a short time,” BJP Spokesperson Malavika Avinash told TNM.