Karnataka: Two MLAs withdraw from Kumaraswamy govt, Operation Lotus again?
The withdrawal of two independent MLAs from the H D Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka has seen the southern state plunged into an intense political drama. While the Kumaraswamy government is in no immediate threat as of now, the JD(S)-Congress alliance has hurled accusations of MLA poaching at the BJP. The BJP has hurled counter-accusations, and has shifted its lawmakers to the NCR. Here's more.
Currently, the JD(S)-Congress alliance is just above the majority mark
The defection of the two MLAs - H Nagesh and R Shankar - has brought down the JD(S)-Congress alliance's seat count in the assembly from 118 to 116, a mere three seats over the majority mark of 113 seats. Although Kumaraswamy has said that he is "totally relaxed" despite the development, further defections could see his government lose its majority in the state.
BJP claims that it has support of Congress 12 MLAs
Compounding the JD(S)-Congress alliance's woes is the fact that the Congress, on Monday, claimed that five of its Karnataka MLAs had gone missing. Meanwhile, a senior BJP MLA in B S Yeddyurappa's inner circle has claimed that the saffron party has already enlisted the support of 12 Congress MLAs, and is waiting for another four-five Karnataka legislators to join their ranks.
Operation Lotus all over again?
Given this situation, fears of another 'Operation Lotus' is rife. The term 'Operation Lotus' had been coined in 2008 when the BJP was accused of inciting several lawmakers from the Opposition to defect and join its ranks to ensure the stability of its government under B S Yeddyurappa. The BJP currently has 104 MLAs in Karnataka, and enough defections could get them a majority.
Is the BJP playing mind games ahead of the elections?
However, although BJP leaders claim that the saffron party is making one last push to dislodge the Kumaraswamy government, political analysts think otherwise. Analysts claim that the saffron party is playing mind games and trying to de-legitimize coalition governments in the hopes that it pays dividends in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh where the BSP and the SP recently joined hands.
What analysts feel is going in Karnataka
They argue that if the BJP succeed in toppling the coalition government in Karnataka, it would send signals to the people about the instability of coalition governments. Further, by sending its MLAs out of the state, the BJP might force the Karnataka Governor to keep the state assembly under suspended animation till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections get over.