Bengaluru: The ‘Sankranti shivers’ triggered by the BJP for the eight month-old coalition fizzled out with two belligerent Congress legislators-Bheema Naik and Pratapgouda Patil meeting party general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, K.C. Venugopal, in the presence of the media on Wednesday.
Sources in the know of developments which unfolded prior to this meeting between two legislators and Mr Venugopal told Deccan Chronicle that JD (S) supremo, H.D. Deve Gowda spoke with Congress president, Rahul Gandhi, in the morning, and the latter soon instructed Mr Venugopal “to do whatever it takes” to save the government.
Post a quick discussion, Mr Venugopal and former chief minister Siddaramaiah reportedly spoke with disgruntled former minister, Ramesh Jarkiholi, and party MLA Nagendra who were in Mumbai, and the duo assured these dissidents that their demands would be met. The upshot: dissidents agreed to fall in line and met Mr Venugopal.
On their part, Congress leaders convened a meeting of the legislature party on Friday where they would hear out complaints of all dissidents and perhaps organize a meeting with Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy later in the day.
Some leaders even spoke of the possibility of a reshuffle of the ministry to accommodate these dissidents and thus stymie further threats to the government.
Meanwhile, sources in Mr Jarkiholi’s camp revealed that they had plans to destabilise the government after securing signatures of 15 MLAs but their calculations went awry after many of the MLAs, who originally agreed to quit, reneged on their promise, resulting in a collapse of the destabilization game.
Failed attempt to affect BJP?
A blame game has commenced within the BJP with some leaders and the party cadre speaking up against state BJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa and central leadership for an unsuccessful attempt to topple the coalition government.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, a senior BJP leader and member of the core committee said: “a failure of this strategy of banking on disgruntled Congress legislators to dislodge the government will affect the image of central leaders and morale of our workers.”
Our central leaders erred by asking MLAs to camp close to New Delhi and thus attract the attention of the national media. We decided to remain in Delhi merely on receiving information about willingness of few Congress MLAs to resign”, the leader added.
The leader admitted, “no senior leader in the party’s state unit has been informed about this strategy. Since the leadership has not taken us into confidence, we have not shown interest to offer any suggestions when the coalition faced this crisis. A majority of the party cadre has also shown disappointment because they were looking forward to the leadership gearing up for Lok Sabha elections. Such developments over the last four days will definitely bring down the morale of our workers.”
The leader said the decision to attempt destabilization of the government at this juncture could impact the party and its image with Lok Sabha polls round the corner.
Another senior BJP leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said “Mr Yeddyurappa has reached a ‘now or never’ situation, and therefore desperately wanted to take over as the Chief Minister before Lok Sabha polls. Therefore, he asked his diehard supporters to do something to install a BJP government in Karnataka....