Kumaraswamy reminds Karnataka of ‘2008 Operation Lotus’, claims BJP offering Rs 100 crore to poach MLAs

BENGALURU: As Karnataka threw a fractured mandate in the assembly, Janata Dal Secular (JDS) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday reminded the people of the ‘Operation Lotus’ that was carried out in 2008. Kumaraswamy claimed that the BJP offered his MLAs Rs 100 crore in bribes to break ranks and back the BJP in forming a government in Karnataka.
“Our MLAs were offered Rs 100 crore by the BJP to break away. I want to know whether this is black or white money. The JDS-Congress combine has 116 MLAs. The BJP is trying to misuse its power being at the Centre and form its government through horsetrading,” he said. In the 2008 Karnataka Assembly elections, the BJP became the single-largest party but fell short of a majority by just three seats. It eventually formed the government but was accused of indulging in an infamous political manoeuvre code-worded ‘Operation Lotus’. BJP’s rivals claim “Operation Lotus” was initiated by the then BJP chief minister BS Yeddyurappa where he allegedly gained the support of some opposition party MLAs using money and power.
In 2018, too, the equation is almost similar with the same key players – BJP, Congress and JDS – wrangling for power and Yeddyurappa yet again being at the centrestage. Claiming that JDS-Congress should be invited by the Governor to form the government, Kumaraswamy said, “without the numbers how can they (BJP) form the government”.He also rejected outright the possibility of forming a coalition government with the BJP. “I am going to meet the governor with the state Congress president and formally stake claim to form the government,” he said.Meanwhile, the BJP has rejected Kumaraswamy’s charges terming them “imaginary”. “This (talk of) Rs 100 crore, Rs 200 crore is imaginary.