By Anindya Banerjee
New Delhi, Nov 13 (IANS) All the 17 rebel MLAs, who so far are not BJP members, will formally join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday and 15 of them are very likely to be fielded in the upcoming by-election in Karnataka to be held on December 5, says a senior functionary of the party. What’s more? The ‘Operation Kamal’ may be back with more opposition MLAs jumping to BJP, post the by-elections.
All 17 Rebels to join BJP:
Sources told IANS, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has given his in-principle okay for the induction. In fact, BJP state unit spokesman G. Madhusudana told IANS, “All the 17 MLAs, including 14 from the Congress and 3 from the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) will join our party on Thursday here and 15 of them will contest in the by-elections on our party symbol,” However, it needs a final green signal from BJP Chief Amit Shah, which is a mere formality. This move comes after the Karnataka unit of the BJP went into a huddle in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
A senior BJP functionary explained requesting anonymity, “If one has to fight on BJP ticket, the basic requirement is that he or she has to be a member of the BJP. At present none of the rebels are BJP members. Hence the induction is a natural progression.”
All rebels preferred over BJP cadres:
As fifteen assembly constituencies are going to bypolls, chances are all the fifteen sitting MLAs who were disqualified by the Speaker following their defection, which on Wednesday has been upheld by the Supreme Court, will be fielded by the saffron party. “Will you field a BJP cadre who couldn’t win a few months back or someone who won the seat and willing to fight this time for the BJP”, asked the BJP leader. Moreover, the saffron party doesn’t have a strong organisational base in the belt in which the bypolls are taking place.
If the ruling BJP which currently has 106 MLAs, manages to win 6 of the 15 seats, it will cross the halfway mark (leaving out Maski and RR Nagar) and be in a majority.
Operation Kamal 2.0?
But the Bharatiya Janata party, which claims it will win all the 15 seats, hints at more turncoats joining the saffron fold in Karnataka. A senior party functionary who has been privy to developments, suggested December 5, which is the day of bypoll, will not be the end of BJP’s open arms policy for those who feel “suffocated in their respective parties and want a change”. There are signs that the BJP is actively in touch with more opposition MLAs, not to just reach majority but beef up its numbers.
Earlier, the opposition blamed it on the BJP for its alleged poaching of 17 MLAs that toppled the Congress-JDS Government in the southern state, reiterated its blame on Wednesday. Congress’s media cell chief Randeep Singh Surjewala on Wednesday, soon after the apex court allowed the disqualified MLAs to seek re-election, alleged, “The Supreme Court decision upholding the disqualification of ‘defector MLAs’ has burst the bubble of BJP’s ‘Operation Kamal’. It is now proved that BJP brazenly and illegally brought down an elected JDS-Congress Government in Karnataka.”
Earlier, Yeddyurappa had created a row when he was heard trying to allegedly influence a JDS MLA in a purported audio.