In a new twist to the political drama in the wake of "Operation Lotus", the Congress in Karnataka on Friday shifted 76 of its MLAs to a private resort outside the city accusing the BJP of trying to poach them to destabilise the state's JD(S)-Congress coalition government.
The Congress devised the new strategy after a meeting of the legislature party where four MLAs, said to be dissidents, had absented despite threats of disqualification.
"The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is indulging openly in horse-trading and is trying to bring down the (JD-S-Congress) coalition government by hook or crook," Congress state unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao told the media in Bengaluru.
Rao was speaking to reporters after the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meet at the Vidhana Soudha in the city centre.
"We need to have all our MLAs in one place and deliberate with them on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. So we are all going to the resort," Rao said.
The meeting saw the attendance of 76 of the party's 80 MLAs, CLP leader Siddaramaiah told the media.
The four absent legislators were Umesh Jadhav of Chincholi Assembly segment in Kalaburagi district, Ramesh Jarkiholi from Gokak constituency in Belagavi district, B. Nagendra from Ballari segment and Mahesh Kumathalli from Athani constituency in Belagavi district.
"Those who were absent will be issued notices seeking their explanation," Siddaramaiah asserted.
Two of them -- Umesh and Nagendra -- could not be present for the meet due to personal reasons, the party said.
"Umesh had sent a letter that he is unwell and could not travel, while Nagendra could not be present due to some court-related work," Siddaramaiah added.
While exuding confidence over the party lawmakers' support, Siddaramaiah alleged that the BJP's national leaders, including national president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were behind the attempt to "destabilise" the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S)-Congress coalition government.
"BJP has been trying to come to power through undemocratic means and has kept its own legislators locked up in Gurugram, Haryana. Their central leaders Shah and Modi were also involved in the attempt to gain power in Karnataka," the Congress leader claimed.
The party was not afraid of any "Operation Lotus" to topple the government, he added.
"Our legislators were offered crores of rupees by the BJP to join the party in exchange for cabinet posts," Siddaramaiah alleged.
The Congress decision to pack its MLAs to a resort near Bengaluru comes in the midst of a similar sequestering of its MLAs by the BJP in a five-star hotel in Gurugram near the national capital for the last four days.
The BJP, however, has rejected Congress allegations of attempts to destabilise the Kumaraswamy government.
Now Karnataka Congress Packs MLAs In Resort, Alleges Open Horse-Trading By BJP