Karnataka: Shah tells BJP to keep mum as Congress alleges poaching

Amit Shah (File) BJP president Amit Shah | Salil Bera

Even as bickering in the Congress in Karnataka casts a cloud on its coalition government with the JD(S), the BJP says its party chief, Amit Shah, has asked the state unit "not to create any confusion" and instead stick to playing the role of the opposition sincerely.

Rejecting charges by Congress leaders that the BJP was trying to topple the JD(S)-Congress coalition government, the party's Karnataka unit chief B.S. Yeddyurappa on Thursday said, "There is no need to doubt our motives."

BJP MLAs have been instructed not to give statements on the current political developments pertaining to turmoil in the Congress, Yeddyurappa said.

"BJP national president Amit Shah, with whom I spoke today, has instructed us not to create any confusion. We should not give any statements about the political developments taking place in the state.

Instead, we should stick to playing the role of opposition sincerely," Yeddyurappa added.

Shah's purported advice to the party unit comes amid allegations that the BJP was trying to take advantage of the internal tussle in the Congress and poach its MLAs to unseat the government.

Some senior Congress leaders have blamed the BJP for the recent discontent in their party.

The Jarkiholi brothers—Municipal Administration Minister Ramesh and his MLA brother Satish—are locked in a turf war with another minister, D.K. Shivakumar, casting a shadow over the coalition government.

The Jarkiholi siblings are upset over Shivakumar allegedly trying to challenge their supremacy in Belagavi district through MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar.

The tussle has spilled into the open with the Jarkiholi brothers' assertion about the support of eight MLAs and that they were in touch with the BJP, fuelling speculation about the stability of the H.D. Kumaraswamy government.

The Jarkiholi brothers, whose dissident activities have caused trouble to the three-month-old Congress-JD(S) coalition, have camped in Bengaluru and have been meeting senior party leaders.

Asked about the flurry of activities at his residence since Thursday morning with BJP MLAs making a beeline, Yeddyurappa clarified that the legislators came only to greet him on the occasion of Lord Ganesha festival.

Some senior Congress leaders have accused the BJP of trying to poach their MLAs to come to power.

The Congress leaders have warned the BJP that they would not keep quiet if BJP tried to destabilise the Kumaraswamy government.

When asked about a Congress leader claiming that at least 10 BJP MLAs were in touch with them, Yeddyurappa said, "Why just 10 MLAs? Let them be in touch with all the 104 MLAs."