Monday, Aug 15, 2022
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Lotus Bloomers

The CM's attempts to win over foes is losing him his friends

Lotus Bloomers Srikanth Kolari

On September 9, the BJP government in Karnataka completed 100 days in office. But having reached that milestone, the question being asked is: what really has the B.S. Yediyurappa government achieved? The government's publicity wing has, of course, unleashed a wave of self-congratulation. The CM's own cabinet colleagues and senior BJP men, though, are unhappy with the image the government has acquired. And chief among their complaints is 'Operation Lotus'.

Operation Lotus refers to the poaching of Opposition Congress and JD(S) MLAs to secure a government narrowly short of a simple majority. In the elections held in May this year, the BJP had fallen three short of such a majority in a house of 224. It managed to form the government with help from six independents, five of whom were made cabinet ministers and one a chairman of a cash-rich board. Very soon, however, the 'thinking hats' in the government and the party concluded that the independents were fickle and could hold the government to ransom. And so began the democratically unprecedented Operation Lotus in which seven Opposition MLAs were made to quit their newly-won assembly seats and join the BJP. Of the seven (four from JD(S), three from Congress), four were made cabinet ministers instantly and the others were made chairmen of powerful boards. Quitting the seats was necessary to escape the anti-defection law and also to reduce the effective strength of the house. Technically, the BJP secured its government for the next six months until the bypolls are held for these seats.

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