A day after he joined the BJP, disqualified legislator H Vishwanath claimed that former Congress leader and now BJP MP Srinivas Prasad had approached him and said he should lead the team to bring back BS Yediyurappa to the chief ministerial post.
Vishwanath, is one of the 17 MLAs, who were disqualified by the then Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar. He served as the JD(S) president of the Karnataka unit.
Prasad had joined BJP in 2017 after he was dropped from the cabinet headed by then chief minister Siddaramaiah. He had served as the state's revenue minister.
"One day, BJP MP Srinivas Prasad called me and said he wanted to speak to me about Operation Lotus. He told me that I should lead the team to bring BS Yediyurappa to the chief ministerial post. I agreed to it. He told me to lead the team of all the leaders who are disqualified. After that, everything happened and people also know about it," Mr Vishwanath said while addressing party workers.
Mr Vishwanath is among the 13 disqualified MLAs who have been named in the first list of BJP candidates for the upcoming by-elections in the state scheduled to be held on December 5. The party has fielded Vishwanath from Hunsur.
Sixteen of 17 disqualified rebel MLAs, including those from Congress and JD(S), joined the BJP in the presence of Yediyurappa on Thursday. The by-elections will be held for 15 out of 17 seats and results will be declared on December 9.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the decision of the then Karnataka Speaker to disqualify 17 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law but said that they can contest the upcoming by-elections in the state.
The rebel legislators were disqualified in July this year under the anti-defection law after they tendered their resignation. They were also barred from contesting polls for the duration of the current assembly, which is slated to end in 2023.
The move led to the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government, paving way for BJP to stake claim to form a new government in the state.
The disgruntled MLAs then moved the top court challenging their disqualification and the ban imposed on them against contesting elections.