Thursday, 17 May, 11.00 am Deccan Herald

Congress-JD(S) keep close vigil on its flock

The BJP, which has to prove its majority to save its government, is making all-out efforts to woo as many MLAs from the Congress and the JD(S).

The Congress-JD(S) combine has a lot to worry because already two Congress MLAs - Anand Singh, elected from Vijayanagara and Pratapgouda Patil, elected from Maski - have become incommunicado.

While the Reddy brothers are said to be wooing Singh back into the BJP, party leaders B Sreeramulu and Manohar Maski, who brought Patil to politics, are trying to woo him.

KPCC president G Parameshwara, while staging a protest in Vidhana Soudha, charged that the BJP was leaving no stone unturned to poach the two leaders.

JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy said the Modi-led government had "misused" the Enforcement Directorate to build pressure on Singh.

All of Thursday, the Congress was seen desperately trying to locate the two leaders. The Congress also has to worry about Humnabad MLA elect Rajashekar Basavaraj Patil, who showed signs of jumping to the rival camp.

Patil, a five-time MLA, feels let down by Siddaramaiah as he was not inducted into the Cabinet on two separate occasions.

Also, if in case the Congress-JD(S) combine does form a government, only 17 legislators from Congress will be made ministers. Sources said Patil felt his prospects were bleak.

Patil, who sent a scare across the Congress camp by coming out of the Eagleton Golf Resort, was later pacified by leaders including Siddaramaiah, Parameshwara, D K Shivakumar and Kumaraswamy. The Congress leaders are, however, keeping a hawk's eye on Patil's movements.

From the JD(S) camp, the BJP is said to have established contact with leaders including, BSP MLA elect from Kollegal, N Mahesh, and also giant killer Ashvin Kumar M, who defeated Congress' H C Mahadevappa in T Narsipur.

Though the JD(S) has a pre-poll alliance with BSP, sources said Mahesh, with the hope of becoming a minister, might defect to the BJP.

The other leaders that the BJP is trying to woo are Srinivas Murthy (Nelamangala), R Manjunath (Dasarahalli), G T Deve Gowda (Chamundeshwari), Sa Ra Mahesh (K R Nagar), Devanand Chavan (Nagathan), Venkat Rao Nadagouda (Sindhanur) and B Satyanarayana (Sira).

Sources in the party, however, said these leaders, when confronted by Kumaraswamy, had assured him that they would not join the BJP.