A day after Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s controversial statement calling for a revolt against BJP, the state’s top leaders from both the Congress and JD(S) met at former CM Siddaramaiah’s residence on Friday afternoon to discuss the fallout of the statement.
Political party insiders say that Siddaramaiah was unhappy about the turn of events and also schooled Kumaraswamy on his behaviour as the Chief Minister of the state.
“Siddaramaiah told Kumaraswamy to watch his words and to think about what he is going to say. He told Kumaraswamy that as a Chief Minister, he must maintain the dignity of the office and not speak whatever was on his mind, especially if it would provoke controversies,” a source close to the Siddaramaiah said.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara, Water Resource Minister DK Shivakumar, KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao and KPCC Working President Eshwar Khandre were present at the meeting with Siddaramaiah.
"Siddaramaiah told Kumaraswamy to be very careful as the BJP has been trying various tactics to lure MLAs. He advised Kumaraswamy on various issues and also told him that since the BJP rules the central government, he should be careful with his words," a JD(S) source said.
“They also discussed several issues including counter-operations to stop BJP’s Operation Kamala and strategies to ensure that the parties’ MLAs stayed put,” the source added.
JD(S) insiders say that Siddaramaiah and other leaders sketched out a plan to ensure that the leaders do not switch parties.
“They (JD(S) and Congress leaders) are planning to take all the MLAs to Hassan and hold a meeting as a show of support. In case the BJP manages to poach MLAs, then the leaders decided that the Speaker would not accept their resignations. They have also made a list of 10 BJP leaders who can be approached. DK Shivakumar is trying to convince these BJP leaders to defect to Congress,” the source said.
Congress sources say that the leaders also decided that if the BJP manages to checkmate the coalition government, then the JD(S) and Congress leaders would move to dissolve the assembly.
“They also decided that the candidates for the MLC elections will not be announced and that the leaders who have been chosen would directly file nomination papers. They want to keep it a secret for as long as possible so the BJP won’t approach disgruntled candidates and poach them,” the source added.
Meanwhile, BJP has also launched an offensive and the party’s leaders, under the leadership of its state President BS Yeddyurappa are set to meet Governor Vajubhai Vala and request him to intervene. “They are trying to show that Kumaraswamy was trying to induce chaos and anarchy in the state and are calling for president’s rule,” BJP sources said.
BJP leaders, who held a press conference after Kumaraswamy’s controversial statement calling for a revolt against BJP, put forth several questions and launched a direct attack on Kumaraswamy.
“You are spending Rs 3 crore per annum to reserve a room in Taj West End. Where did you get this money from? Even though you have a state-sponsored home and office, why did you need it? Is Hassan the only holy place in Karnataka? Are people of Karnataka your slaves to be at your beck and call? Deve Gowda’s family owns crores of rupees. Will you agree to being investigated?” BJP MP for Udupi-Chikkamagaluru Shobha Karnadlaje said.
BJP sources say that Yeddyurappa and his associates have allegedly formulated three different plans to try and bring down the coalition government in Karnataka.
“The first one is to approach the Governor and ask him to call for President’s rule until the Lok Sabha election results are announced. The second plan is to carry out a silent poaching campaign and get Congress and JD(S) legislators to BJP. The third one is to wait for the MLC elections and cabinet expansion so they can identify disgruntled leaders and poach them,” a BJP source said.