BENGALURU: "The BJP has approached all 80 of our MLAs," joked KPCC Chief Dinesh Gundu Rao during a press conference earlier this week. He was responding to whether some Congress MLAs are being approached by the BJP even now, three months after the assembly elections. While leaders of the BJP including state president B S Yeddyurappa have claimed that there are no efforts on to woo MLAs of the Congress and the JD(S), sources in the party suggest a different story.
Sources say, national president Amit Shah has given them time till November to try and bring the Congress-JD(S) coalition government down. State BJP leaders have been asked to approach MLAs till November this year after which the party will invest all attention, resource and effort into campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls. If the current coalition government survives till November, BJP sources say, they will stop making all attempts to return to power in the state till parliamentary elections conclude.
"Allowing this coalition to continue till election could be disastrous for us. If this coalition continues, we can barely win 11 seats, but if the government falls, we are sure to get 20-22 seats," said a BJP functionary in charge of election campaigns.
Many from the Congress acknowledge that a few of their MLAs are being consulted. "They (BJP) have stopped trying to poach but are in constant touch with our MLAs. I suppose they will wait for things to roll after cabinet expansion," a Congress legislator said. While the party is confident of keeping its flock together, it also believes that BJP stands to lose more by bringing the government down.
While many within state BJP are sceptical about attempting to disrupt the government, they acknowledge that Shah has an unconventional way of working things. "The period post cabinet expansion is crucial. MLAs of the Congress, not just Lingayat leaders, but also those from OBC and SC communities, are willing to resign.
Even if we don't woo them, they are likely to abandon the coalition on grounds of representation," a BJP leader said. The Congress doesn't deny that tension is anticipated after the cabinet expansion with number of aspirants overtaking the number of berths available. While the party hopes to keep its leaders satisfied with boards and corporations, they are also keeping a close watch on the BJP and its attempts.