Yogeshwar tried to woo me into joining BJP: Chikkamadu

Congress MLA for H.D. Kote Anil Chikkamadu on Sunday alleged that former Minister C.P. Yogeshwar tried to lure him into the BJP as part of the saffron party’s efforts to bring down the coalition government in the State.

“I was asked to resign from the Assembly and contest byelections as BJP candidate. He promised me that the party will take care of the election expenses and make me a Minister,” Mr. Chikkamadu told reporters in Mysuru on Sunday.

He, however, clarified that he will remain with the Congress. “I’m indebted to the Congress for fielding me as its candidate in the last elections. Media reports suggesting that I’m among the coalition MLAs who will support the BJP are false,” he said.

To a question, Mr. Chikkamadu said Mr. Yogeshwar had contacted him with the offer about a week ago.

R. Dhruvanarayan, Chamarajanagar MP, alleged that the BJP had deployed Mr. Yogeshwar, who quit the Congress last year and rejoined the BJP, to lure Congress MLAs from Mysuru and Chamarajanagar regions.

Accusing the BJP of reviving Operation Lotus — a strategy deployed by the party to engineer defections from rival parties to boost its strength — to bring down the coalition, Mr. Dhruvanarayan said Mr. Yogeshwar had similarly tried to lure Congress MLAs R. Narendra and C. Puttaranga Shetty, both from Chamarajanagar district, recently to join the saffron party.

The BJP leader had also contacted Minister for Backward Classes Welfare Puttaranga Shetty with inducements that included making him the Minister in charge of the district to switch over.

Mr. Dhruvanarayan said the BJP leaders had made similar efforts to win over Congress MLAs from the region before former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s trust vote earlier this year. “Now, they have revived the efforts,” he said.

“But no Congress MLA will desert the party and switch sides. The coalition government will complete its full five-year term,” he added.

Denies charge

Mr. Yogeshwar has categorically denied the allegations levelled against him. Speaking to The Hindu over phone on Saturday, he said: “The Congress and Janata Dal (S) leaders are misleading the public by making false charges.”

The BJP leader claimed that he had never seen or spoken to Mr. Chikkamadu.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 2:11:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/yogeshwar-tried-to-woo-me-into-joining-bjp-chikkamadu/article24962631.ece

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