Recently, a number of Congress MLAs from the state of Karnataka were purported to be missing. The Congress government led by CM H. D. Kumaraswamy blamed the BJP for poaching the coalition’s MLAs. A faction of Congress-JD (S) alliance alleged that the BJP is trying to topple the government in Karnataka by the means of the ‘Operation Lotus’.
However, according to the Indian Express report by Coomi Kapur, the ‘Operation Lotus drama might have been engineered by Congress leader and former CM, Siddaramaiah. The report claimed that the tussle occurred, “Due to the infighting between Congress stalwarts, former CM Siddaramaiah and senior minister D K Shivakumar”. The article further adds that the former CM has been marginalized by H D Kumaraswamy’s government. Siddaramaiah, who was once in the JD(S) and enjoyed the stature of big leader, is now treated as insignificant by his former party member.
The recent rumble in Karnataka is clearly a result of the insecurity of Siddaramaiah caused due to his falling stature in the party and few leaders of the alliance that prompted this drama. The latest fight that broke out between DK Shivkumar, another Congress stalwart and Siddaramaiah substantiated it further. In the context of this fact, Coomi Kapur writes, “At one point, Siddaramaiah reportedly suggested to Rahul Gandhi that it made better sense to pull out from the government since the non-performing JD(S) will handicap the Congress in the parliamentary polls. Because of Siddaramaiah’s maneuvers, some seven Congress MLAs went missing”.
Earlier, Karnataka Water Resources Minister and Congress leader D. K. Shivakumar claimed that three of his party’s MLAs are camping in Mumbai and may join the BJP soon. A BJP source further claimed that Congress MLAs Anand Singh from Vijayanagara, Nagendra from Ballari Rural and Ramesh Jarkiholi from Gokak are in close talks with the saffron party. Ramesh Jarkiholi, former Small Scale Industries Minister and a dropout from the Congress had earlier claimed Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka may collapse at any moment.
Shivakumar further claimed that the BJP has launched “Operation Lotus” in the state. Operation Lotus is saffron party’s statewide movement aimed at strengthening the party in Karnataka, Shivakumar claimed. He also added, “We have all the information on which Congress MLAs BJP has approached and how much money they have offered. We will expose them thoroughly”. Expressing his unhappiness over Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s attitude towards rebel leaders, he added, “Our Chief Minister is a bit lenient towards the BJP. By ‘lenient’, I mean he is not exposing the facts he knows. All the MLAs have conveyed to the chief minister about the ongoing conspiracies. They have also told Siddaramaiah about it. The Chief Minister is adopting a policy of wait and watch. If I was in his place, I would have exposed it within 24 hours”.
But the latest report by the Indian Express reveals the deep-seated insecurities within the alliance and Congress’ inability to put the interests of alliance above its own ego. It further made the fact clear that the saffron party was not the part of this “Drama”.