Bengaluru, June 30 (IANS) Former Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader A.H. Vishwanath, who defected to the BJP after revolting against the JD-S-Congress coalition government in Karnataka, is set to reveal the inside story of “Operation Kamala” staged by the ruling party to return to power in the state last year, an official said.
“We too learnt that Vishwanath is set to release a book titled ‘Bombay Days', which chronicles the events that led to the fall of the 14-month-old coalition government in Karnataka in July 2019 and how the BJP came to power again in the southern state, using its time-tested defection strategy, euphemistically called ‘Operation Kamala',” a party official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Though the 70-year-old veteran lost in the December 5 by-election from the Hunsur Assembly seat in Mysuru district on a BJP ticket, the party's high command did not nominate him for the state legislative Council in the recent biennial elections to seven vacant seats.
“Vishwanath is lobbying hard for a Council seat under the nomination category for writers/authors, as five of them have fallen vacant after the incumbents' six-year term ended on June 29,” the official said.
Of the two defectors who lost in the Assembly by-polls besides Vishwanath is M.T.B Nagaraj from Hoskote in Bengaluru Rural district, who got elected recently to the Council after the high command nominated him after the party's state unit recommended his name.
“As Vishwanath is 70 years old, it's now or never for him to get into the Council like Nagaraj and become a minister like the other defectors have so far,” said the official.
Defending his right to write the “tell-all' book, Vishwanath told reporters at Mysuru recently that he wanted to expose the real faces of the JD-S-Congress leaders who betrayed the people by running an ‘inept' coalition government.
“Though the May 2018 Assembly elections gave a hung verdict, the Congress and the JD-S entered into a post-poll alliance to form the coalition government after denying the BJP the right to form the government despite winning 105 seats, which were eight short of the simple majority (113) in the 225-member lower house,” recalled Vishwanath.
Admitting that besides BJP leaders, even Congress ‘netas' were involved in the ‘Operation Kamala', Vishwanath said he documented all the details to reveal how the strategy to overthrow the coalition government was planned and executed, which forced the defectors spend over three weeks at a star hotel in Mumbai in July 2019.
The saffron party uses ‘Operation Kamala' to make legislators of opposition parties resign and get re-elected from their Assembly seats on its ticket in the subsequent by-elections to form or save the government and secure majority.
Of the 17 defectors to the BJP from the opposition Congress (14) and the JD-S (three), 12 of them got re-elected in the 15 Assembly by-elections and 11 were rewarded with cabinet posts in early February.
Vishwanath, who was a minister in the S.M. Krishna's Congress government (1999-2004), also recalled that BJP leader B.S. Yediyurappa had approached him with an offer to make him a minister if he helped him in bringing the saffron party to power in the state again.
“My contribution in bringing this (BJP) government has also been mentioned in the book,” said Vishwanath, who has written seven books on different topics over the years in Kannada and English.