K’taka Cong on reverse ‘Operation Lotus’ mode, has BJP concerned


    <br>The Congress party has reserved 30 tickets for candidates who will be poached from the BJP according to sources. Karnataka Congress president D.K. Shivakumar has taken it as a prestige issue and wants to be in a commanding position before the voting day, explain insiders.

    The BJP lured MLAs, ministers from the Congress and the JD (S) to pull down the Congress-JD (S) coalition government through Operation Lotus. Following this, B.S. Yediyurappa, member of the BJP Central Parliamentary Committee, became the chief minister.

    Now, in a role reversal, the Congress seems to be adopting an aggressive stand. Sources said that the party is focusing on Lingayat leaders. The party is picking and choosing loyal supporters of former CM B.S. Yediyurappa. It is taking advantage of the fact that the supporters are not happy with the handling of Yediyurappa.

    Until recently Yediyurappa was snubbed by the party. He was not allowed to go on tours single handedly. Now, his supporters are not ready even as Yediyurappa is asking them not to go against the BJP. The Congress offer is too tempting for them, say sources.

    Fuelling more tension in the BJP camp, Minister for Housing and senior Lingayat leader V. Somanna has stated that people realize that he is like flowing water and not stagnant. Congress insiders said that he has been offered the post of DCM.

    Mohan Limbikayi, former MLC from Dharwad is being persuaded. Former MLA U.B. Banakar, Kiran Kumar, a notable leader from Chikkanayakanahalli of Tumakuru district, Tammaiah, a prominent supporter of BJP National Secretary C.T. Ravi have already been lured into the Congress.

    The Congress has also celebrated the joining of four-time MLC Puttanna from the BJP. Puttanna stated that his conscience always pricked him and he repented his decision to join the BJP.

    Sources said that Hiriyur BJP MLA Poornima is also not happy with the BJP and could switch over to the Congress. Independent MLA from Mulbagal Nagesh, who had supported the BJP initially, has announced that he would support the Congress.

    Minister for Sports and Youth Services M.C. Narayana Gowda from Mandya district had kept himself away from the affairs of the party and is all set to join the Congress, after PM Modi’s visit to Karnataka on March 12, sources said.

    BJP MLA Srimanth Patil from Kagawada constituency of Belagavi district, BJP MLC H. Vishwanath, former MLA from Monakalmuru constituency in Chitradurga Y.N. Gopalakrishna and Narasimhaswamy, a senior BJP leader from Doddaballapur will be joining the Congress, according to reliable sources.

    The Congress thinks that if senior BJP leader Somanna is pulled into its fold, it would help the party’s prospects in Bengaluru. The party plans to win at least 10 seats in the Bengaluru South region.

    The leaders are not even afraid of being targeted by the central agencies. The ruling BJP has managed to lure independent MP from Mandya Sumalatha so far. The party workers are saying that all is not well and if the party leaders fail to quell the dissidence and stop Shivakumar from poaching BJP leaders, the developments will have a direct bearing on the saffron party.