Bengaluru: The BJP would not destabilise Karnataka's ruling coalition, party state chief B S Yeddyurappa said on Saturday, as the state remained in the grip of political unrest with the Congress on tenterhooks to keep its numbers intact.
As the Congress MLAs remained sequestered in a resort on the city outskirts fearing a poaching bid by the BJP, Yeddyurappa said he had asked all his party lawmakers camping at a hotel in Gurugram to return and tour the state's drought-hit areas.
"We will not try to destabilise this government for any reason, let them not have that fear. We will work as the opposition," Yeddyurappa, whose party has been accused of having triggered the political crisis with its toppling game, said.
"Let the Congress-JD(S) leaders not have any doubt about it," he said, a day after chinks in the ruling coalition was exposed with four MLAs skipping the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meet.
As the fissures became evident, the Congress on Friday swiftly moved all its MLAs to the resort keeping them on leash to "escape" the BJP's alleged "onslaught" to woo its MLAs with money and other allurements.
Top Congress sources had said Friday that at least eight party MLAs had "committed" themselves to BJP to jump ship.
The BJP also announced that a seven-member team led by Yeddyurappa would tour the drought-hit districts from Monday.
CLP leader Siddaramaiah welcomed Yeddyurappa's decision to call back all BJP MLAs and asked him to "walk the talk" on not trying to destabilise the ruling coalition.
"I welcome Yeddyurappa's decision to call back the BJP legislators from Delhi and send them to monitor the drought management in the state," he said in a tweet in Kannada.
"Yeddyurappa has said that they will not destabilise the state government, they will work as opposition. Let Congress, JD(S) leaders not fear.
He should walk the talk and save the public's trust," Siddaramaiah said in another tweet.
Congress pointsman and frontline minister D K Shivakumar said he was in touch with all the MLAs.
Asked about senior ministers resigning to accommodate disgruntled legislators in the cabinet, he said, "I have voluntarily offered.. in the interest of the party if my leaders want I'm ready."
"All of us are ready," he said when asked how many were ready to quit.
On Yeddyurappa-led team's drought tour, Shivakumar said "good thing that at least now they have got enlightenment to study the drought situation. Karnataka government will give them all cooperation. My compliments to them."
As the state saw another return to resort politics, the BJP alleged that the resort where Congress legislators were staying owed Rs 982 crore to the government as penalty in a land encroachment case and asked Congress leaders to collect the amount and use it to waive farm loans.
"Now that Congress Party will spend time in resort we request 'Maryada Purushothama' Sri.@siddaramaiah,@DKShivakumar &@dineshgrao to collect this money while u return U can use it for farmer loan waiver," Karnataka BJP said in a tweet, citing media reports.
During the recent assembly session at Belagavi, revenue minister R V Deshpande had told the House that the state government would take all measures to collect Rs 982 crore from the resort for encroaching on 77 acres of government land.
In a clear sign that all was not well within the Congress, the CLP meet saw four absentees and the party later said it would issue notices to Ramesh Jarkiholi, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav and Mahesh Kumatahalli seeking explanation.
After the political drama unfolded on Monday, two Independents withdrew support to the coalition government.
The Congress has been accusing the BJP of making repeated attempts to bring down the government and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah on the issue.