Bengaluru: It is no secret in Karnataka that the Congress government is trying to poach MLAs from opposition parties BJP and JD (S) keeping upcoming Lok Sabha and Bengaluru civic polls in mind. Sources in the Congress party confidently claim that more than 20 MLAs from BJP and JD-S were being contacted, and “the discussion was approaching final stages”.
Meanwhile, The opposition BJP and JD-S leaders are doing firefighting to avoid the exodus of their members.
On the other hand, the ruling Congress leadership appear confident as the leaders have been openly claiming that “only those who accept the ideology of the party will be entertained”.
The Congress has been channelising all efforts to wrestle more than 20 Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka.
The BJP had gained a landslide victory by sweeping 25 seats in Karnataka.
Congress managed to win one, JD-S one seat and an Independent candidate supported by BJP had won another seat.
Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar, who stated that he was given choices of either joining BJP or going to jail, chose the second option.
He had also stated that the party leaders have been asked to take calls to strengthen the party at the grass roots level.
Sources said that the party cadres have been asked to poach the followers of MLAs and prominent leaders of BJP and JD-S, and compel them to join the Congress.
The pictures of former ministers from BJP B.C. Patil and Raju Patil meeting Shivakumar at the birthday party of Kannada superstar Kichcha Sudeep recently in Bengaluru and talking to him for a long time has become a topic of discussion in the state political corridors.
Former minister M.P. Renukacharya has met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and lashed out at the BJP leadership.
Recently, he criticised BJP national General Secretary B.L. Santhosh. The BJP has not responded yet on the matter. Sources explain that this shows the weak position of the saffron party.
The JD-S which lost its ground to Congress in south Karnataka and managed to win 19 seats in the assembly elections is worried about the operation hast.
The Congress is all set to poach more than 10 MLAs and plans to render a blow to the party.
Sources said that the Congress has given this “assignment” to ministers N. Cheluvarayaswamy and B.Z. Zameer Ahmad Khan who joined the party from JD-S. Both were close to former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy.
If JD-S is weakened, it would help Shivakumar to emerge as the face of Vokkaliga community, a source said.