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‘Operation Lotus’ was an infamous strategy started by then BJP chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to buy over opposition party MLAs with money and power. BJP had poached 20 MLAs from JD(S) and Congress, making them resign their assembly membership and contest bypolls, between 2008 and 2013.
With just 104 seats in the 2018 assembly, the BJP technically needs to ensure that at least 5-6 MLAs resign, so that the magic figure drops to 106-108, and ensure that BJP candidates wins the bypolls.
Constitutional experts say governor Vajubhai Vala is likely to invite BJP to form the government by applying his conscience and discretion, as guided by Supreme Court verdicts which say that a party with the largest number of MLAs should be invited to form the government. “He will first invite the single largest party, and if it fails to prove its numbers, the governor may go for the coalition option,” said senior lawyer H P Bavesh.
Prominent among the MLAs who defected to the BJP after the 2008 assembly elections include Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli, Anand Asnotikar (Karwar), J Narasimha Swamy (Doddaballapur) and actor-turned-politician Jaggesh (Turuvekere).
Another strategy the BJP might adopt is to make some MLAs of the Congress and JD(S) abstain during the trust vote, after the governor allows them to form the government and prove their numbers. This strategy looks more imminent, as of now.
Though this is not easy as the Congress and JD(S) are expected to issue a whip to their members, it may create a constitutional crisis and the issue may end in court, providing the BJP a breather to work out new tactics.
Polling in RR Nagar is rescheduled for May 28, while elections to Jayanagar has been put off. The BJP will heavily rely on these two seats to shore up its numbers.