Even as the drama over who will form the government in Karnataka intensifies, the Bharatiya Janata Party was all smiles a day after legislative Assembly results were announced.
While the BJP top brass met last night to iron out details of which MLAs could be poached, Day II began with the procedural election of picking the Legislative Party leader. 75-year-old Yeddyurappa was elected as the leader, while BJP State Vice President Govind Karjol was voted Deputy Leader.
In a not-so-cryptic statement to the media, BJP MLA CT Ravi said, 'Whoever doesn't want the Congress, will come to us.”
TNM’s sources had confirmed yesterday that the BJP had given up trying to poach JD(S) and moved on, instead, to Congress MLAs and smaller parties or independents.
Mining baron Janardhana Reddy's trusted aide B Sriramulu is believed to be engineering what is now touted Operation Kamala 2.0.
Confirming rumours, the first help for Yeddyurappa's cause came from unusual quarters as newly elected Ranibennur MLA R Shankar of KPJP strode in alongside BJP MLA KS Eshwarappa.
Congress MLA Anand Singh, who switched loyalties just ahead of the elections, is understood to be in talks with Sriramulu.
Singh, along with some other Congress MLAs from the mining heartland, reportedly gave the Congress legislative party meeting a miss.
Talks are also on with other Lingayat leaders of the Congress, including a former minister from ex-Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's cabinet in order to sway things in the BJP's favour.
Union Health Minister JP Nadda, however, said that the BJP would not poach Opposition MLAs.
The BJP top brass left for the Raj Bhavan soon after the legislative party meet, requesting the Governor to invite them as the single-largest party.
A beaming Yeddyurappa told reporters, “The BJP Legislative Party has voted me as the leader of the party. I have given that communication to the Governor. I have asked the Governor to allow me to make me the Chief Minister at the earliest. He told me he will take appropriate the decision at the earliest. We have 100% confidence that he will take decision immediately. Once the Governor’s letter comes, I will tell you further.”
Speaking to reporters at the BJP office in Bengaluru earlier today, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “The BJP is not trying to poach any MLA either of the JD(S) and Congress. But it is some of them who are feeling the pulse of the people who want to join the BJP."
Toeing the party’s public line he added, "The mandate is clear. This is a verdict for change and against the Congress."
In response to a question on how the BJP plans to form government, Javadekar said, "Many legislators who are not happy with the way JD(S) is aligning itself with the Congress don't appreciate this. So things will happen in natural course. We are following all democratic processes and traditions. We will form the Government."