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‘Operation Kamal’ may return, all 17 rebels to join BJP in Karnataka

Earlier, Yeddyurappa had created a row when he was heard trying to allegedly influence a JDS MLA in a purported audio.

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New Delhi, Nov 13 (IANS) All the 17 rebel MLAs, who so far are not BJP members, will formally join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday and 15 of them are very likely to be fielded in the upcoming by-election in Karnataka to be held on December 5, says a senior functionary of the party. What’s more? The ‘Operation Kamal’ may be back with more opposition MLAs jumping to BJP, post the by-elections.

All 17 Rebels to join BJP:

Sources told IANS, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has given his in-principle okay for the induction. In fact, BJP state unit spokesman G. Madhusudana told IANS, “All the 17 MLAs, including 14 from the Congress and 3 from the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) will join our party on Thursday here and 15 of them will contest in the by-elections on our party symbol,” However, it needs a final green signal from BJP Chief Amit Shah, which is a mere formality. This move comes after the Karnataka unit of the BJP went into a huddle in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

A senior BJP functionary explained requesting anonymity, “If one has to fight on BJP ticket, the basic requirement is that he or she has to be a member of the BJP. At present none of the rebels are BJP members. Hence the induction is a natural progression.”

All rebels preferred over BJP cadres:

As fifteen assembly constituencies are going to bypolls, chances are all the fifteen sitting MLAs who were disqualified by the Speaker following their defection, which on Wednesday has been upheld by the Supreme Court, will be fielded by the saffron party. “Will you field a BJP cadre who couldn’t win a few months back or someone who won the seat and willing to fight this time for the BJP”, asked the BJP leader. Moreover, the saffron party doesn’t have a strong organisational base in the belt in which the bypolls are taking place.

If the ruling BJP which currently has 106 MLAs, manages to win 6 of the 15 seats, it will cross the halfway mark (leaving out Maski and RR Nagar) and be in a majority.

Operation Kamal 2.0?

But the Bharatiya Janata party, which claims it will win all the 15 seats, hints at more turncoats joining the saffron fold in Karnataka. A senior party functionary who has been privy to developments, suggested December 5, which is the day of bypoll, will not be the end of BJP’s open arms policy for those who feel “suffocated in their respective parties and want a change”. There are signs that the BJP is actively in touch with more opposition MLAs, not to just reach majority but beef up its numbers.

Earlier, the opposition blamed it on the BJP for its alleged poaching of 17 MLAs that toppled the Congress-JDS Government in the southern state, reiterated its blame on Wednesday. Congress’s media cell chief Randeep Singh Surjewala on Wednesday, soon after the apex court allowed the disqualified MLAs to seek re-election, alleged, “The Supreme Court decision upholding the disqualification of ‘defector MLAs’ has burst the bubble of BJP’s ‘Operation Kamal’. It is now proved that BJP brazenly and illegally brought down an elected JDS-Congress Government in Karnataka.”

Earlier, Yeddyurappa had created a row when he was heard trying to allegedly influence a JDS MLA in a purported audio.

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Let Gehlot prove numbers instead of shunting MLAs to resorts: Pilot loyalist

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Sachin Pilot

Jaipur, July 13 : Why did Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot shunt his MLAs to a resort in a luxury bus after flashing a victory sign during the CLP meeting called on Monday? If he is claiming ”all is well” within his camp, he should immediately call for a floor test in the Assembly to show his strength, one of the Sachin Pilot loyalists told IANS here after Rajasthan Congress MLAs were sent to the Fairmont Hotel soon after the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting called at the CMs residence on Monday.

In fact, questions were also raised on the number of MLAs who were supposedly present at the Chief Minister’s residence for the CLP meeting as quoted by the Gehlot camp.

While Gehlot claimed that there were over 100 MLAs, sources said that there were around 90 MLAs present in the meeting, while 18 MLAs from the Pilot camp boycotted the CLP meet.

Surprisingly, among those present in the meeting, a few MLAs are being considered as strong supporters of Pilot, which shows that the ”game is not yet over”, said one of the Congress members.

Meanwhile, the Congress has called another MLAs’ meeting on Tuesday at 10.30 a.m.

Pradesh Congress Committee Vice President Archana Sharma on Monday night made an emotional appeal to all party MLAs who skipped the meet on Monday to remain present in Tuesday’s meeting.

“Those who could not come for the CLP meeting on Monday should attend the meeting scheduled at 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday. We all need to stay together to stay strong. All the MLAs should attend the meeting for the well-being of the Congress family. We all are members of the family and hence should stay together to serve the people who have voted for us to serve their needs,” she said.

Meanwhile, BJP state President Satish Poonia said, “The Congress government has lost its credibility among the voters and hence collapse of this government shall spell better for the people who have been suffering since the time the government came to power in December 2018,” he said.

“We will evaluate the situation and shall take any step as per the directions given by the central leadership,” he said, when asked about BJP’s stand on the present developments.

It needs to be mentioned here that Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister and Congress leader Sachin Pilot had announced on Sunday that the Gehlot government was in minority as 30 MLAs were supporting him.

Meanwhile, Pilot loyalists who skipped the meeting on Monday included Rakesh Pareek, Murari Lal Meena, GR Khatana, Indraraj Gurjar, Gajendra Singh Shaktawat, Harish Meena, Deependra Singh, Bhanwarlal Sharma, Indira Meena, Vijendra Ola, Hemaram, PR Meena, Ramesh Meena, Vishwendra Singh, Ramniwas, Mukesh Bhakar, Bhanwarlal meghwal and Suresh Modi.

Three of them are state ministers, namely Vishvendra Singh, Ramesh Meena and Bhanwarlal Meghwal, who is not well.

Along with this, three Independent MLAs disassociated by Congress — Omprakash Hudla, Suresh Tank and Khushveer Singh — seem to be standing with Pilot after the ACB filed FIR against them for their involvement in ”alleged poaching of MLAs”.

Two Bharatiya Tribal Party MLAs, meanwhile, have decided to stand aloof and not vote in favour of anyone — be it Pilot or Gehlot camp.

So the question remains, is the Gehlot government safe?

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Pilot releases video of his MLAs strategising in Manesar

Meanwhile, questions are being raised on the numbers as quoted by the Pilot camp for his claimed strength doesn’t seem evident in the video.

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Sachin Pilot

Jaipur, July 13 : Rebellious Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Monday released the first-ever video showing Congress and other MLAs from his camp strategising in a resort situated in Haryana’s Manesar.

The MLAs were seen sitting together and discussing the future at the same time when MLAs from camp of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot were discussing their strategy in the Fairmont Hotel here for the Congress meeting scheduled on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Congress leaders have made an emotional appeal to Pilot and his MLAs to come and attend the meeting, leaving aside all differences.

Meanwhile, questions are being raised on the numbers as quoted by the Pilot camp for his claimed strength doesn’t seem evident in the video.

While Gehlot has claimed that his government has the necessary numbers and is on safe ground, the Pilot group, on the other hand, has claimed that around 30 MLAs – both of the Congress and Independents – have extended their support to him.

Pilot on Sunday had sent a message saying that he shall not attend the Congress Legislative Party meeting.

He also claimed that the Gehlot government was in a minority.

Surprisingly, Pilot’s media manager used the designation of Deputy CM and Congress leader for Pilot and did not cite the state Congress chief title, raising more questions.

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PM allows Priyanka Gandhi’s request to stay on in Lutyens’ bungalow for some time

Sources close to developments revealed that when the matter was brought to Modi’s notice, he said that her request most certainly be accepted.

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

New Delhi, July 13 : In a remarkably statesman like move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to a request to allow Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to retain the 35, Lodhi Estate Bungalow for some time. Just when people thought there is witch hunt against the erstwhile first family of Indian politics, the PM”s move once again validated his large heartedness.

After the government directive to vacate the prime Lutyens real estate property in Lodi Estate, the Centre was approached to allow Priyanka Gandhi to stay there for some more time. Sources close to developments revealed that when the matter was brought to Modi’s notice, he said that her request most certainly be accepted.

Those who know Modi say that this is not the first time that he has gone out of the way and shown large heartedness towards a family that has left no opportunity to bad mouth him, demean him and use every trick out of the book to nail him. The general impression being that both sides have a visceral hatred for one another.

It was in 2011 when Sonia Gandhi had to travel abroad for health related treatment. That time, it was Modi who sent a bouquet of flowers to 10, Janpath. The Congress, which was keen to keep Sonia Gandhi”s travel plans a secret, was not only surprised but was also compelled to share details about Sonia Gandhi’s illness with the entire nation.

Back in August 2013, when the Congress-led UPA was in power and Modi was merely the campaign committee chief, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi fell ill. The nation saw a visibly unwell Sonia Gandhi being escorted out of the Parliament House, driven to the hospital.

Later on, she was taken home from hospital. That is when Modi Tweeted, “Glad to know that Sonia ji’s health is fine. Wishing her the best of health in future.”

He had also tweeted, “Concerned that basic medical emergency procedures were not used. Would have been better if wheel-chair or stretcher was used in the Parliament,” adding, “Considering her health, Sonia ji should have been taken to hospital in a well-equipped ambulance. Still, doctors are best judges.”

Old timers recall another incident from the past when a chopper ferrying Sonia Gandhi and Ahmed Patel developed a snag at Daman. Modi dialled Sonia Gandhi and offered all possible help to her.

When the NDA government came to power, Modi would make it a point to greet Sonia Gandhi at the start and end of every Parliament session. Such a practice continues even now. This is a basic courtesy that was never given to the NDA when the UPA was in power.

In August 2016, when Sonia Gandhi fell ill during a roadshow in Varanasi, Modi immediately enquired about her health. He also offered to arrange for a plane to bring her back to Delhi. The fact that Modi reached out to Sonia Gandhi, who was campaigning in his parliamentary constituency and using acerbic language, was not missed by people.

During the peak of the Karnataka election campaign, Rahul Gandhi”s aircraft developed a technical snag on the way to Hubballi. The Congress used this as an opportunity to taunt the BJP-led Central government for being inconsiderate towards the Gandhi family.

In the midst of such slander, and slap-bang in the middle of a tough and bruising election campaign, Modi called Rahul Gandhi and enquired about his well-being. He also ensured a proper DGCA probe was held on the issue.

The Gandhi family has considered Narendra Modi as an usurper of sorts — someone who has denied them a set of privileges they deserved. In contrast, Modi has always shown a larger heart when it comes to dealing with the Nehru-Gandhi family.

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