Another type of ‘animal farm’ is going on in Karnataka. The BJP has spread its net far and wide and attempts are being made to break the MLAs from the Congress-JD (S) camp. As there is a possibility of the breakdown of the MLAs, a scene like a game of mouse and cat is emerging here.
Exactly the same happened with R Shankar, the only MLA of Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janata Party. He won from Ranebennur seat in Haveri district. He first supported the BJP, then came to the Congress. Again a few hours later, he was seen with BJP’s Prakash Javadekar but on Thursday morning, he was seen staging a sit-in with the Congress outside the assembly.
“There is a lot of pressure on me from both sides,” Shankar confessed. Until the floor test starts in the assembly, it cannot be said clearly on which side it will stay.
The Congress and the JD (S) are hopeful that their MLAs will behave like sheep. Meaning to be together. But the BJP is looking for possible faces that it can bring to its court.
In Bangalore, this danger can be more serious. Good days for some elected representatives are coming soon. “Cash on delivery” is a popular word here.
It is being told that there are two ‘black sheep’ in the herd who allegedly said ‘yes’ to the BJP. Their names are – Anand Singh and Pratap Gowda Patil. The plan is to force 14 MLAs to abstain or be absent from the vote of confidence so that the figure of proving majority is reduced to 104. With this number, the Yeddyurappa government will overcome this crisis.
Anand Singh and Pratap Patil hail from Bellary and Raichur districts respectively. These districts fall in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region. The skepticism on these two MLAs is also high because Reddy and Sriramulu dominate the area. For Yeddyurappa, the responsibility of majority jugaad has been given to Bellary brothers. Seeing his CV, you will know that in 2008 he gave a minority government to Yeddyurappa. It was called ‘Operation Kamal’.
He did this by breaking four JD (S) MLAs and three Congress MLAs. These MLAs had resigned from their seats and contested the BJP seat again. In the second attempt, five MLAs won. This time, the time is short and the required number is high.
Anand Singh is a Dal-Badlu leader. He has been a tourism minister in the past. He left the BJP before the election and joined the Congress and also won the election from Vijayanagar seat. Like tainted mining mafi Galli Janardhana Reddy, he is also interested in media and hotel business. The CBI has also arrested him twice in 2013 and 2015 in the illegal mining case. He was the only Congress MLA who did not sign the letter submitted to the governor as he could not be contacted by the party.
Congress MP, DK Suresh, told about Singh that “he is in Narendra Modi’s court”.
The case of Pratap Patil is even more interesting. He has been elected MLA from Maski Scheduled Tribe seat. He also signed in support of HD Kumaraswamy. Sources reveal that he took a flight from Old Bangalore Airport on Thursday morning and went to some unknown place. Since there is no regular movement at this airport, it is being estimated that Patil has gone from the private plane. The needle of suspicion is on the Bellary brothers.
Interestingly, Patil was with the BJP earlier and won from Maski’s seat in 2008. Then he joined the Congress. He has won elections in 2013 and 2018 on a Congress ticket. This time his contest was very close, he defeated the BJP candidate by just 213 votes. Therefore, like Anand Singh, he is not very sure of the ideology of the party.
The BJP is in a hurry because it feels that the Supreme Court can order a vote of confidence in the next 24 to 48 hours. BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai said that it is a difficult and challenging task. On Friday, the Supreme Court will look at the letters given by Yeddyurappa to the Governor. In those letters, no more than 104 numbers are mentioned anywhere. This can spoil the job. On the other hand, Congress-JD (S) camp has submitted the signature of support of 117 members to Raj Bhavan.
Brain games are also going on at their level. The BJP camp is stating that they are in touch with 8 Congress and 2 JD (S) MLAs. It is being told in this camp that Lingayat MLAs are not happy because this coalition is being led by Kumaraswamy, Vokkaliga. The struggle between Vokkaliga and Lingayats in Karnataka politics is almost a decade old.
The Congress and the JD (S) want Yeddyurappa’s chief minister’s term to end at the earliest. This is the reason why they are sending their MLAs outside the state. There are plans to take Congress MLAs to Kochi in Kerala. The MLAs were invited to come to Kerala on the Twitter handle of the Tourism Department of Kerala. JD (S) MLAs can be sent to Telangana. The Telangana government is said to have a cordial relationship with the JD (S).