As 2 Exits Jolt Coalition, HD Kumaraswamy "Totally Relaxed": 10 Points

The Congress has claimed that five of its lawmakers are missing and accused the BJP of launching another "Operation Lotus".

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The JDS-Congress combine is down to 116 lawmakers in the 224-member Karnataka assembly.

Bengaluru:  Two Independent lawmakers -- H Nagesh and R Shankar -- have withdrawn support from the government of HD Kumaraswamy amid a huge political churn in Karnataka. Pointing to the numbers, Mr Kumaraswamy said he was "totally relaxed". Their defection brings down the numbers of the ruling alliance from 120 to 118 - the halfway mark stands at 113. Over the last two days, there have been tit-for-tat allegations of attempted poaching from the Congress and the BJP camps. The Congress says several of its lawmakers have gone "missing". The BJP has shifted its 104 lawmakers to Gurgaon near Delhi.
Here are the Top Ten Developments in this big political story:
  1. "There is no threat to my government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to answer how the BJP and its friends are trying to destabilize the government," Mr Kumaraswamy told NDTV. His deputy G Parameswara said the BJP attempts to lure MLAs through "money and power" will fail.
  2. Over the last few days, state leaders of the BJP have been talking of a "kranti (revolution) on Makar Sankranti", the Congress has alleged. With 104 lawmakers, the BJP is far short of majority.
  3. Accusing Mr Kumaraswamy's government of inefficiency, R Shankar, one the lawmakers who pulled out, said, "Today is Makar Sankranti. On this day we want a change in government... so I am withdrawing my support today".
  4. The pullout by the Independent lawmakers comes amid BJP allegations that Mr Kumaraswamy is attempting to poach on their lawmakers. Claiming the Janata Dal Secular wants to "break" the BJP lawmakers, its state chief BS Yeddyurappa shifted his flock to a resort in Gurgaon yesterday.
  5. The Congress claimed that five of its lawmakers were out of contact and accused the BJP of launching another "Operation Lotus" - a term coined in 2008 when the BJP allegedly engineering the defections of opposition legislators to ensure its government headed by Mr Yeddyurappa remains stable.
  6. Mr Kumaraswamy said all the Congress lawmakers had gone after informing him and were "continuously in contact" with him. His minister DK Sivakumar said three of the lawmakers were at a Mumbai hotel with certain BJP leaders. "We are aware of what has transpired there and how much has been offered to them," he said.
  7. Earlier, many Congress lawmakers alleged that they were approached by the BJP leaders, who asked them to switch camps. In a tweet, Congress's former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the "Recent miserable loss in 5 states is the result of their (the BJP's) ongoing attempt in Karnataka which will fail".
  8. The BJP has trashed the allegations, saying the Congress was cooking up stories to cover up its ineptitude and internal factionalism.
  9. In May, ahead of the Supreme Court  mandated trust vote, two Congress lawmakers had gone missing. The party alleged that they were being kept captive by some BJP leaders. Mr Shivakumar, the party's trouble shooter, had said he had kept in touch with them through sources and "brought them back".
  10. Asked if the BJP was keeping them by force, Mr Shivakumar had said, "there was nothing secret in it... they were playing politics, we also played some politics".




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