For the present, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have suspended its operation Kamala 2 that involves weaning away few Congress MLAs to bring the HD Kumaraswamy government down. Over the past fortnight or so, the local media in Bangalore was full of speculations of an imminent fall of the government, engineered by persons close to former Chief Minister and Karnataka state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa.
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He and his followers’ enthusiasm and energy in this regard, was however, not shared by some leaders in the BJP who were cautioning the party against any such move to destabilise the government as it could dent the image of the central party leadership. Yes, the Janata Dal (S) Congress coalition government is surviving on a wafer-thin majority, but with each and every move of the BJP under close observation, it was becoming difficult for it to poach the eight MLAs it needed to fell the government and stake a claim to form its government.
Although the BJP would love to step in should the coalition government fell on its own it threw in the towel, so to speak, on Monday when it failed to field candidates for three byelections to legislative council, as a defeat here would have exposed the fact that all the attempts of the BJP to get the MLAs to cross-vote had failed.
Members to the legislative council are elected by the MLAs and each of the candidates has to secure 112 votes to win. If the BJP, with a strength of 104 in the assembly, failed to win it would have exposed its lack of strength and also give a psychological boost to the Congress – JD (S) combine ahead of the general elections to the Lok Sabha.
It was at the proverbial eleventh hour that the BJP pulled out of the contest after word reached the local unit that the central unit may frown at these efforts, seen as a precursor to felling the government.
BJP leaders do admit that recent moves by persons close to the former chief minister had dented the image of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi as also they gave ammunition to the Congress and Janata Dal (S) to target the BJP central leadership as well. The party’s central leadership is averse at the moment to queer the pitch ahead of the general elections to the Lok Sabha.
In fact, the hard-hitting attack of state minister and Congress heavyweight DK Shivakumar on misuse of IT and ED only caused more embarrassment to the BJP as its moves apparently backfired. Congress MLA after MLA came out in the open and declared support to the coalition government as also they cited allurements from the other side to defect. State Congress chief KC Venugopal quoted one of his party MLAs to charge Yeddyurappa with the attempt to bribe him via watsapp.
The Congress strategy seems to be to counter the BJP and its predatory moves aggressively to build a perception that the BJP was being a bad loser and was using all means foul to get into power through the backdoor.
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Now this is an impression that is being built against the BJP. Since the party can ill afford such an image ahead of the Lok Sabha general elections, the party seems to have reigned in the state unit for the time being.
Karnataka deputy chief minister and Congress leader G Parameshwara had maintained that the political drama in the Congress was produced and directed by the BJP but will end in a whimper. “The frustrated BJP tried every leaf in its book to destabilise the coalition government, including spreading false rumours, but they have completely failed because Congress MLAs stood firm,” the deputy chief minister said.
For the present, the government saved itself, but the question remains – for how long.