Bengaluru: The infamous "Operation Lotus" orchestrated by the BJP in the past, is likely to be relaunched, if the party think tank in Delhi gives a green signal to its Vokkaliga strongman and former deputy CM R. Ashok in the days to come.
Barring a couple of Muslim leaders of the JD(S) like former ministers Iqbal Ansari and B.Z. Zameer Ahamed Khan, several prominent leaders like Balakrishna of Magadi and N. Cheluvarayaswamy are reportedly 'in touch' with Mr Ashok to join his party.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, a senior leader in the BJP observed that Mr Ashok was planning his strategy to emerge as a Vokkaliga leader in the state. "He enjoys considerable clout in Bengaluru district, which sends nearly 18 MLAs to the assembly. He is planning to expand his base in the Vokkaliga heartland, where at present, Janata Dal (S) leader, H.D. Kumaraswamy and Congress leader, D.K. Shivakumar are slugging it out for the number one position."
The source added that Mr Ashok was making all out efforts to woo JD(S) MLAs and trying his best to 'convince' the party top brass in Delhi to allow him to bring MLAs from the JD(S) into the saffron fold. "If the BJP top brass gives him permission, this will certainly upset the power equations in the Vokkliga heartland and in the BJP state unit as well. He will have his coterie ready, whenever, the BJP makes a comeback in the state," the source explained.
The source added that the BJP had successful spread its wings across the state except in hard-core Vokkaliga dominated districts like Mandya, Bengaluru Rural and Hassan and these districts account for more than two dozen Assembly seats....