Updated on January 18, 2019:
As the tug-of-war to poach MLAs continues, reports are coming in saying Congress MLAs are now being sent to Eagleton resort in the outskirts of Bengaluru for the next two days. Meanwhile, BJP MLAs are in a resort in Manesar. ANI reported that Karnataka Congress MLA Sowmya Reddy won't be joining other MLAs to Eagleton and that the discussion on upcoming parliamentary elections will continue.
Amid the horse-trading in Karnataka with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) trying to poach Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) legislators to form the government, has the opposition actually displayed them as a weak opponent?
The BJP has suffered great loss in the past and their greater comeback with the major plan of 'Operation Lotus 2.0' has all been in vain. This is their second failed attempt to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the past seven months by bribing the legislators of other political parties with money and power.
In the 224-member state assembly, the Congress-JD(S) alliance has the support of 117 MLAs. The BJP has 104 MLAs and there are two Independents and a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA.
Operation Lotus 2.0
The BJP's plan to poach about 13-15 MLAs from the Congress has been an unsuccessful event, even after BJP fenced four Congress MLAs at a Mumbai hotel and other places. However, the Congress MLAs developed cold feet and the rebels, who were planning to change their loyal side went back.
This situation has boosted the confidence of Congress in Karnataka as they have called for a Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting in Bengaluru on Friday. The CLP meeting is to showcase the unity of the Congress pretty and to challenge the BJP for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Under the anti-defection law, former chief minister and CLP chief Siddaramaiah has threatened to take disciplinary actions against those who won't attend the meeting. A confident Siddaramiah said that all the 79 party MLAs will attend the meeting.
The rebels return
Seven Congress legislators had rebelled against the party and were camped in Mumbai by the BJP. Three of them were Ramesh Jarkiholi, MLA of Gokak, Anand Singh, MLA of Vijayanagara and B Nagendra, MLA of Ballari rural.
On Thursday, B Nagendra announced his loyalty with Congress after returning to Bengaluru. Anand Singh and Bheema Naik also pledged their allegiance towards Congress.
The Congress party has contacted Ramesh Jharkiholi and his close aide Mahesh Kumatahalli and they are supposed to attend the legislature meeting.
JN Ganesh, another MLA from Ballari also returned and said that reports of his defection were false.
The failed attempt
In another turn of events, the BJP had holed up 104 of its legislators at a hotel in Gurugram, blaming an internal conflict within Congress. The BJP state president, BS Yeddyurappa had allegedly accused the Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of trying to lure the BJP MLA's into his side by bribing them.
Yeddyurappa said that his party is not involved in any operation and that if any Congress legislators leave the party, it is their own individual decision because of internal fights within the party and frustration at the way of functioning of the CM.
BJP has been severely criticised for their 'operation lotus' by many politicians. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Working President Eshwar Khandre had said that, since the BJP does not have a proper mandate to rule, they should sit in the opposition and allow the government to function properly.
With all the foul plays and drama taking place in the state of Karnataka, a winning situation for the BJP is not at a stable mode. Will the Congress hold itself? Will the BJP reign again?
Today's CLP meeting will give a hint of the state's future.