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Karnataka turmoil: Congress-JDS Govt in denial or BJP loosing the battle? Clear picture likely to emerge today

The suspense over alleged horsetrading continued to simmer on Wednesday as BJP legislator firmly camped in Gurgaon hotel and Haryana Congress workers staged protest outside.

Edited by: India TV Politics Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: January 17, 2019 0:00 IST ]

Karnataka turmoil: Govt in denial or BJP winning the battle? Picture likely to be clear on Thursday 

The Congress and JD(S) on Wednesday continued to claim that the coalition government in Karnataka is strong, while BJP predicted the downfall. However, both the sides agreed on one thing that the picture should be clear by Thursday. 

The suspense over alleged horsetrading continued to simmer on Wednesday as BJP legislator firmly camped in Gurgaon hotel and Haryana Congress workers staged protest outside. 

Amid the din, the Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka is "stable and strong" and will continue to be so. He asserted that any attempt by the BJP to destabilise it by poaching legislators would not succeed.

He claimed that there was no crisis in the Karnataka government. All the 118 MLAs of JD(S) and Congress "are intact and no one is running away," Kharge said. 

He alleged that the BJP was trying to repeat what it did in Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh earlier by "spreading lies and rumours" about Congress MLAs leaving the party.

"The Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka is stable and strong and will continue to be so. There is no threat to our government in the state," he told reporters.

In the 224-member Assembly, BJP has 104 members, Congress-79 and JDS 37. There is one MLA each of BSP and KPJP and one Independent, besides the Speaker.

The Congress legislators would be meeting on Friday, January 18 at the meeting of the Congress legislature party and so will the JDS MLAs and will show their strength that they stand united, Kharge said.

He alleged the BJP was trying "to spread falsehood and canards that the Congress MLAs were moving away and were joining the BJP, but they will never be successful in doing so".

"There is nothing like Congress and JDS MLAs quitting and joining the BJP. They are only trying to spread rumours and befool the public. I have talked to the chief minister, the deputy chief minister and other leaders of both parties and the The BJP is only creating illusion by spreading falsehood," he said, adding that the rival party was exerting pressure by misusing government agencies.

Kharge alleged that MLAs were being "scared and hounded by using government agencies like the CBI, ED, Income Tax".

"The BJP is in the habit of doing such activities of destabilising government and poaching of MLAs. They have done so in Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh earlier and are now seeking to attempt so in Karnataka too. The BJP believes in horse trading and luring MLAs of other parties and then forming governments," he said.

The coalition government in Karnataka suffered the first major setback when two MLAs, an independent and a member of the Karnataka Pragnyavantara Janata Paksha, Tuesday withdrew support to it amid charges of horse trading levelled against each other by the ruling parties and the BJP. 

Kharge said that the two MLAs had gone away as they were unhappy after one of them was removed as a minister in the reshuffle in Karnataka ministry.

Congress General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal, who has been camping in the city since Monday night and holding a series of meetings with party leaders, said that all the Congress MLA's are "fine and intact."

He termed the media reports about a few party MLAs planning to resign as "baseless".

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara alleged that the BJP has a bigger plan behind its moves "to topple" the coalition government in the state as it wants to show that any grand alliance against it at the centre will meet the same fate.

Kharge said there is no truth that the government is falling in Karnataka.

"If they were so strong, why were they keeping and protecting their MLAs in a seven-star resort . Why are you protecting your own MLAs if you have confidence," he said.

On reports of some Congress legislators going ""missing", Kharge said it was not so as one had gone to attend a wedding and another to Shirdi and they have since returned.

About the BJP's charge of its legislators being poached by the Congress, Kharge said, "We are not calling anyone. But, if someone comes, we cannot shut our door to them. What is the fear the BJP is having."

Venugopal said, "Nothing is going to happen. All the Congress MLAs are intact, we are in touch with all of them."

Asked about MLAs camping in Mumbai, he asked, "Are you sure that they are in Mumbai only? That was day-before yesterday, just verify now."

Venugopal asserted that the coalition government "will continue for next four-and-half years".

"We have nothing to worry, we have contact with every MLA, all will be okay. We are also calling CLP meeting on January 18," he said.

Pradesh Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said there is not going to be any "Sankranthi-kranti, or Deepawali-damakha or New Year-blast" as claimed by the BJP.

"It will be flop show by the BJP... our government is stable, there is not even an inch of threat to the government and we are relaxed," he said.

Meanwhile, the BJP claimed that the Congress-JD(S) coalition has lost majority and is on the verge of "collapse" due to its "internal contradictions". Its spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao also accused the ruling coalition of trying to poach the state's BJP MLAs, who have been staying in a resort near the national capital, and said its "desperate attempt" to shore up its decreasing numbers will come to a nought.

A senior BJP leader, who declined to be named, said the party will "wait and watch" as to how the differences within the alliance play out before taking a call on its next move.

"Let the state unit decide and then we will deliberate over it," he said when asked if the BJP is looking to make a push for stalling its government in the southern state.

The saffron party also hit out at the Congress-JD(S) over its allegation that it was trying to poach the coalition MLAs.

"The statement coming from the Congress and the JD(S) in Karnataka is an attempt to hide their own failures and gain time to function as a minority government. The state government lacks legitimacy as it has lost the required numbers and has become a a lame duck government," Rao said.

He claimed that there is an "implosion" in Karnataka as a result of an intense factional feud that has broken out among its different factions. 

The coalition government in the state suffered the first major setback when two MLAs, an independent and a member of the Karnataka Pragnyavantara Janata Paksha, Tuesday withdrew support to the government.

There was no immediate threat to the government with the withdrawal of support but speculation was rife that many other disgruntled Congress MLAs could follow suit by resigning from the Assembly, though the party has maintained that its flock is intact. 

(With inputs form agencies)

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