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HomekarnatakaBJP trio trying to lure us: Congress MLA

BJP trio trying to lure us: Congress MLA

Bengaluru: In a sensational claim, first-time Congress MLA Ravikumar Gowda (Ganiga) on Friday said a team of three BJP leaders is approaching lawmakers with offers to defect, which the saffron party rejected.

Gowda, the Mandya MLA who is seen as Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar’s loyalist, said five Congress lawmakers have been approached with offers that include Rs 50 crore, a ministerial position and an audience with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

“Three unemployed BJP persons…the same gang that helped bring down the JD(S)-Congress coalition government has become active again. They are meeting Congress MLAs offering them Rs 50 crore, a ministerial berth and a special flight or chartered aeroplane to meet Amit Shah,” Gowda said, adding that there is proof to back this up.

“Our MLAs are not falling for this. They are reporting this to the CM and deputy CM,” Gowda said.

This claim bears a similarity with the 2019 ‘Operation Lotus’ that saw 17 lawmakers defect to the BJP.

Gowda named N R Santhosh, a one-time close aide of BJP veteran B S Yediyurappa, as one of the conspirators. “One MLC from the Old Mysuru region and an MLA from Belagavi are the other two,” he said, without naming them.

According to Gowda, Santhosh met Congress MLAs at the Goldfinch Hotel in Bengaluru 10 days ago. “If he doesn’t speak about it, we will release evidence,” Gowda said.Gowda said he is not making this up. “As a responsible MLA, I am not planting this,” he said. “Five [Congress] MLAs have been contacted, offered money and a Delhi flight. When the time comes, we will make those MLAs address a news conference,” he said.

Earlier this month, Shivakumar said he and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah were aware of BJP approaching Congress MLAs with offers. 

Going by numbers, at least 50 Congress MLAs will have to defect for the government to fall. 

Santhosh, who contested the recent Assembly election on a JD(S) ticket from Arsikere and lost, denied Gowda’s claim. "I know him well. I will talk to him about this. Maybe he wants offers to be made to Congress MLAs," he said. 

Former BJP deputy chief minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan described Gowda’s claim as "laughable". "Where is the evidence? And, is it even possible? Why worry when you (Congress) have 135 MLAs," he said.

Quote – They are meeting Congress MLAs offering them Rs 50 crore a ministerial berth and a special flight or chartered aeroplane to meet Amit Shah. Congress MLA Ravikumar Gowda

(Published 27 October 2023, 20:50 IST)

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