Sunday, November 1, 2009

When ‘Operation Lotus’ backfired on BJP

BANGALORE: Little over a year after it started poaching opposition party MLAs to stabilise the BJP government, the saffron party's 'operation lotus' has backfired. Instead of helping the party to stabilise the government, the operation has proved to be a bane for the party. Three of the four Ministers who were a byproduct of 'operation lotus' have identified with the Reddy brothers seeking the ouster of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.

Fisheries Minister Anand Asnotikar, Municipal Administration Minister Balachandra Jharkiholi and Minister Shivanagouda Naik are not only in the dissident camp, they are also actively involved in mobilising numbers and ferrying MLAs to safe destinations in Hyderabad and Goa, while the Reddys and their friend B Sriramulu were busy engaging in talks with BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley and Sangh Parivar representatives besides reiterating their demand for a change in leadership at Navagrama (the name given by Reddy brothers to the place where they are constructing 50,000 houses for those displaced in the recent floods), during the foundation stone laying programme.

Naik, who had joined the BJP praising Yeddyurappa’s development works in North Karnataka, was the first to fire a salvo at the CM saying that the latter was neglecting the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, while Jharkiholi vowed to parade the MLAs in front of the high command seeking a change in the state leadership.

Not just these turncoat Ministers, there are quite a few of the defector MLAs who joined the BJP during the last two Assembly polls, after sensing that the saffron party had a better chance of coming to power in the state vis-a-vis the Congress and the JD (S).

All these leaders joined the BJP not because of their love of Hindutva.

They joined because they sensed that the BJP had a better chance of coming to power.

Today, a majority of them are at the helm of dissident activities.

BJP state general secretary C T Ravi was the first to acknowledge the fact that 'Operation Lotus' had backfired at the party.

"BJP was a party with a difference as long as it stuck to the ideology.

We were an ideology-driven party then. Today, we have become more business-like to continue in power,’’ Ravi, who is an hardcore RSS and Bajrang Dal activist, told Express.