Bengaluru: Is the opposition BJP at it again, plotting a toppling game with Molakalmuru MLA B. Sreeramulu and mining baron Gali Janardhan Reddy pulling the strings of the latest attempt to unseat the H.D. Kumaraswamy government?
A two-and-a-half-minute long audio clip which purportedly has a conversation between one of the assistants of Mr Sreeramulu and a businessman, hit the public domain on Monday morning, triggering speculation that the BJP was back to the infamous Operation Lotus which helped B.S. Yeddyurappa garner a majority after the Assembly polls in 2008.
In the audio, two people can be heard speaking in Hindi with the one whom many suspect to be Mr Sreeramulu's assistant, speaking Hindi with a Malayali accent! The conversation goes like this: “At least ten MLAs of the ruling Congress are in touch with BJP leaders who are wary of using their phones suspecting that they could be tapped. Each of these MLAs is being offered `25 crore and a cabinet berth to cross over to the BJP.”
Janardhan Reddy's name too figures prominently in the clipping with one of the voices in the audio claiming he was handling this 'affair.' The conversation seems to have been recorded a day before the BJP Legislature Party meeting held on November 29.
While Mr Sreeramulu was quick to deny any involvement of his assistant in Operation Lotus, sources in the state intelligence told Deccan Chronicle that the audio episode was brought to the notice of Chief Minister, H.D. Kumaraswamy who had ordered them to 'go deep into it and give him a report.'
The officials however doubted the veracity of the clipping and wondered about the Malayali accent of the ‘assistant’ of Sreeramulu.
Incidentally, former Congress minister Satish Jarkiholi's name too figures in the audio. It could be a mere co-incidence that he went to check in at a resort near Belagavi on Sunday and later said he was planning to use it as a destination to safeguard Congress MLAs from the BJP's poaching games.
HDD PLAYS GAME TOO?
It's not only the BJP which is playing the poaching game. JD (S) supremo, H.D. Deve Gowda has reportedly told son Mr Kumaraswamy to build bridges with old Janata Parivar leaders like Umesh Katti and Basavaraj Bommai who are now in the BJP. The game plan: Kumaraswamy will first release more funds to their constituencies before approaching them to cross over to the JD(S).
Sources said the JD (S) supremo plans to approach not less than 10 or 15 BJP legislators and lure them to his side so that the saffron party is critically short of the numbers to destabilise the coalition government....