Bengaluru: Water resources minister D. K. Shivakumar said on Saturday that all Congress ministers, including himself, are ready to make way for disgruntled MLAs, triggering speculation that the coalition could well be gearing up to launch a reverse ‘Operation Lotus’, and pay the BJP back in its own coin
Along with Mr Shivakumar, nearly half dozen Congress ministers - Rajashekhar Patil Humnabad, B. Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan, newly inducted ministers, M. T. B. Nagaraj, and Raheem Khan - have declared separately that they are ready to quit and make room for rebel MLAS in an attempt to prevent the BJP from toppling the government.
The minister told the media here: “We are loyal soldiers of the party. I was kept out of the coalition government headed by Mr Dharam Singh for political reasons. In the previous government, despite being elected to the Assembly for six terms, Mr Siddaramaiah did not induct me into the cabinet initially. So this is not new to me. Whenever the party has asked me to give something, I have tried to deliver my best. In this case, too, without any hesitation, I will do it (give up his ministership)”
Mr Shivakumar also pointed out that this time it was a coalition government, and several legislators, who were senior to him – V. Muniyappa, Ramalinga Reddy, Roshan Baig, H. K. Patil –could not make it to the cabinet. "So for a true Congressman, power is not everything but the party is," he remarked cryptically.
Answering a question about getting in touch with MLAs, including B. Nagendra and Dr Umesh Jadhav, who skipped the crucial CLP meeting on Friday, Mr Shivakumar said: "I am in touch with all MLAs. I don't want to disclose their names,” adding there were not “rebels” in his party.
“Who is a rebel? I don't know. I have not seen any rebels,” he added.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, a senior leader said the ruling coalition could get serious this time as the parties cannot allow the BJP to trigger problems at regular intervals. Therefore, the Congress was contemplating to lure BJP MLAs to its fold. “We have not decided on the timing, but it looks like the party is willing to take the risks involved,” the leader remarked.