Yeddyurappa meets Shah, sparks off speculation on poaching

The sudden trip of Bharatiya Janata Party State president B.S. Yeddyurappa to Ahmedabad, where he met the party’s national president Amit Shah on Monday, has set off intense speculation that Congress dissidents were in touch with him, ready to jump ship. However, sources made it clear the BJP’s top leadership is not inclined towards such a move at this juncture.

Sources said a section of Congress dissidents had approached Mr. Yeddyurappa and was still in touch with him, and this prompted him to think of utilising the opportunity to try his hand at forming a government in the State again. Though sources close to him claimed that it was dissidence within the Congress that had come in handy, other leaders in the BJP denied the party was making any such attempt as of now. “It would be disastrous. The numbers game is stacked against us,” a senior leader said.

In the present scenario, it would be impossible for a breakaway faction from either the Congress or the JD(S) to have enough numbers to avoid the Anti-Defection Law, the leader said, arguing that making 16 MLAs resign and re-contest on BJP ticket would be disastrous for the party’s image in the run-up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He added that such a move would also have national-level repercussions as JD(S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda has shrewdly pitched the current JD(S)-Congress government as a move towards opposition unity in the country.

Meanwhile, several BJP leaders speculated that Congress dissidents may be trying to blackmail their party leaders to gain Cabinet berths by being seen to be hobnobbing with the BJP.

The proposed farm loan waiver in the upcoming budget has made both Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Siddaramaiah jittery, according to sources. Mr. Yeddyurappa, who was keen on waiving farm loans himself, had built pressure on the Chief Minister to do so but now fears a waiver would create a support base for Mr. Kumaraswamy. Meanwhile, a video of Mr. Siddaramaiah’s meeting with MLAs supporting him at a naturopathy camp in Ujire, in which he is seen questioning the rationale behind the presentation of a budget itself, has gone viral.

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