Bengaluru: With less than a week to go for the June 11 elections to the legislative council, the Congress and Chief Minister Siddarmaiah’s camp in particular seem afraid of a section of the party’s MLAs cross-voting and depriving its candidates of the support they need to win.
With the Bharatiya Janata Party deciding to field its second candidate for the Upper House, the Chief Minister’s camp has reportedly identified at least 20 MLAs who could cross vote. “Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had been taking no chances and has directed his confidantes and the police intelligence wing to keep watch on these MLAs,” said a senior leader.
The fact that many partymen fell prey to Operation Lotus during the Yeddurappa government of 2008-13, has made the Congress jittery again as he is now back at the helm affairs in the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state. Although the party will issue a whip to all its MLAs, it remains to be seen whether it will actually work.
“There are always fence sitters in any party. But even many of those we thought could never fall prey to Operation Lotus during Bharatiya Janata Party’s last tenure in the state were persuaded to switch sides by Yeddyurappa, who is now once again calling the shots in the BJP . So we cannot be sure about party MLAs sticking to the party diktat on June 11,” said a leader.
“Four years ago, party’s official candidate Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi lost the MLC elections and party could do nothing and in fact the blacksheeps of the time were issued party tickets for the 2013 Assembly polls,with Mr Siddaramaiah who was then the CLP leader, himself suggesting it,” he recalled.
Having had bitter experience in the too distant past, the Chief Minister’s camp is reportedly leaving nothing to chance and is doing everything it can to muster the required numbers needed to ensure the victory of the party’s four candidates in the coming elections.