Bangalore: The Bharatiya Janata Party winning 25 out of 28 seats in Karnataka in the recent Lok Sabha elections has given a fresh lease of life for speculation around the Congress-JDS government in the state falling. Giving ammunition to this, Congress rebel MLAs Ramesh Jarkiholi and K Sudhakar, BJP MLAs BS Yeddyurappa and R Ashok, and Independent MP-elect Sumalatha Ambareesh on Sunday visited BJP leader SM Krishna. They met him at his residence in Bengaluru.
The former chief minister's residence saw Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi and Chikkaballapur MLA K Sudhakar earlier in the day. Around noon, BJP state president and Shimoga MLA Yeddyurappa, Padmanabhanagar MLA Ashok and Mandya MP-elect Sumalatha followed.
Jarkiholi, who has rebelled against the Congress, has been threatening to quit the party for months. Sudhakar, who has often been critical of the coalition in the state, called it unholy and questioned the allegations of electronic voting machine (EVM) tampering by opposition parties after exit polls. This came a day after Shivajinagar MLA Roshan Baig hit out at the party.
Their colleague, Umesh Jadhav, resigned from the party before the elections, joined the BJP, contested as its MP candidate from Kalaburgi and won by defeating Mallikarjun Kharge, who has won elections 10 times before.
"I will resign but cannot say when. I cannot reveal how many others are going to resign with me. But I will inform you all before doing it," said Jarkiholi.
The leaders claimed that the arrival of all of them around the same time was coincidental.
"I came here to thank SM Krishna. Jarkiholi too came just to meet the leader and speak with him. Nothing else," said Yeddyurappa.
However, the meeting that took place at Krishna's place is no coincidence, says political analyst Mahadev Prakash.
"The coalition government is currently headed by HD Kumaraswamy, a Vokkaliga. If the BJP topples the government now with Yeddyurappa, a Lingayat leader at its top, it won't go down well with the Vokkaligas. Giving the impression that this is being strategised at SM Krishna's house, who is a Vokkaliga may help them," he told News18.
Krishna, a former Congress leader is from Mandya, which has been a JDS bastion. Sumalatha is the MP-elect from Mandya and had been backed by the BJP after she decided to contest as an Independent.
"Sumalatha's late husband and former MP Ambareesh is also a Gowda or Vokkaliga. She may even find a seat in Modi's cabinet and can be a pan-southern leader for the BJP," he added.
Sumalatha is an actor who has more than 200 films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi to her credit.
After her meeting with Krishna, Sumalatha said she was yet to decide about her forward plans.
"I will ask the people of Mandya who voted for me. As an Independent, I can only support a party on issues or policies. I will take any decision that will benefit Mandya," she said.
The BJP currently has 117 MLAs (including the Speaker) in the 225-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly. One Independent MLAs have also backed the party, taking their strength to 117. The coalition has 117 MLAs — 79 from the Congress, 37 from the JDS, and one from the BSP.