Karnataka crisis: Did JDS minister Mahesh meet BJP leaders to put Plan B in action?

Mahesh, who claimed to have visited the KSTDC office that falls under his ministry, met former Deputy Chief Minister Eshwarappa and Karnataka in-charge Muralidhar Rao.

Published: 13th July 2019 05:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th July 2019 11:13 AM   |  A+A-

HD Kumarswamy with MLA and Minister arriving to the Assemmbly session at the Vidhan soudha in Bengaluru on Friday. | (Pandarinath B | EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Even as Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is confident about getting some rebel MLAs back to the fold, some of his party ministers seem to be working behind the scenes to work out a  possible understanding with the BJP.

The meeting between Tourism Minister Sa Ra Mahesh, CM Kumaraswamy’s confidant and also his eyes and ears, with senior BJP leaders appears to have set a Plan B in motion.

Mahesh, who claimed to have visited the KSTDC office that falls under his ministry, met former Deputy Chief Minister Eshwarappa and Karnataka in-charge Muralidhar Rao.

This also created ripples in Congress circles, as the JDS had formed a government with the BJP in 2006.

Though Kumaraswamy dismissed the meeting as a coincidence and BJP State President B S Yeddyurappa clarified that there is no scope of joining hands with the JDS, Mahesh’s actions did raise eyebrows.

Besides, a senior JDS minister said he would be willing to hold talks with the BJP if JDS supremo HD Deve Gowda and the CM give them the go-ahead.

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Another BJP leader close to Mahesh said that the minister had held talks for more then 25 minutes, and put forward a proposal, but BJP leaders did not respond positively.

A few months ago, ministers Sa Ra Mahesh and C S Puttaraju had stated that they knew how to save the government if the Congress created trouble, and may have tried to open a window after the coalition partner did not keep to the spirit of the agreement.

The Congress leadership did not show interest or take the lead when senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s name was put forth for the chief minister’s post, while the JDS is in no mood to give up easily. It is ready to explore options to save the Kumaraswamy government, even if it means making overtures to the BJP.

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Sa Ra’s meeting with Eshwarappa has its own political twist, sources said. Mahesh, who is at loggerheads with rebel MLA and veteran AH Vishwanath, tried to impress upon Eshwarappa the need to block Vishwanath’s political surge in the BJP as it could diminish his (Eshwarappa’s) position, as both hail from the Kuruba community, it is said.

Mahesh, who had contested on a BJP ticket twice from KR Nagar constituency, before switching to the JDS, has not burnt his bridges with the BJP and shares a strong bond with some leaders. In fact, he has frequently warmed up to local BJP leaders, and maybe putting this proximity to use.

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