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'Operation Lotus' suspended; Yeddy to focus on development

Last updated on: May 30, 2011 18:38 IST

Under attack from the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular, while also battling threats of being ousted, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Monday said his government enjoyed a majority. He said there was no need for 'Operation Lotus' under which opposition members of the legislative assembly were lured to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

"Under no circumstance will I continue Operation Lotus. The government enjoys a majority and so there is no need for it," Yeddyurappa said at a press conference organised to mark the first-ever BJP government in south India to complete three years in office.

Yeddyurappa, who has managed to survive challenges to his leadership from within his own party and also threats from Governor H R Bhardwaj, expressed optimism of a peaceful tenure in the coming two years.

Seeking to downplay the Sushma Swaraj vs Arun Jaitley tussle over the Reddy brothers of Bellary, Yeddyurappa said that the issue was blown out of proportion.

The chief minister endorsed the statement made by BJP leader Sushma Swaraj that she did not influence anyone in the induction of Reddy brothers, saying he had inducted them after consulting the party high command. Yeddyurappa also ruled out axing the Reddy brothers -- Janardhana and Karunakara -- as ministers, and said he would await the Supreme Court verdict on illegal mining.

The chief minister said he is monitoring the issue of illegal mining, and added that there has been a major improvement in the scenario. Yeddyurappa denied that Housing Minister V Somanna's family members were involved in illegal mining in Tumkur district.

Yeddyurappa said he would focus on rural development and welfare of rural masses. "There is no scope for dissidence hereafter. The rebels have learnt their lesson," he said.

The Centre, in its advisory to Yeddyurappa after it rejected Bhardwaj's report recommending President's rule in Karnataka, had reportedly pointed out to defections engineered by BJP by poaching MLAs from Congress and JD-S, and directed that it be stopped. 

Yeddyurappa said in the next two years of his rule, he would focus on "kalyana Karnataka" by giving thrust to rural development and welfare of rural masses.

He, however, added that the campaign should not be seen as BJP's preparations for the 2013 assembly elections, but only to ensure all round development in rural areas.

Yeddyurappa said his government maintained law and order, fostered communal harmony and accorded top priority to development in the sectors of agriculture, health, education and irrigation.

Slamming the opposition, which has levelled allegations of corruption and nepotism against him, he said if they had not placed hurdles, the government would have achieved more. "I hope at least now they will cooperate with the government," the chief minister said.

Yeddyurappa flayed opposition parties for what he described as "dictating" to the government, which he said is not good for democracy. Without naming JD-S chief H D Deve Gowda, Yeddyurappa alleged that he had troubled former chief ministers -- Ramakrishna Hegde, Veerendra Patil, S R Bommai, J H Patel and S M Krishna and accused him of doing the same to him.

On cabinet expansion, he said, "I will do it when the high command permits and after consultations". Yeddyurappa said that in the last three years he had toured every part of the state, travelling 2.60 lakh km and holding 1,750 public meetings.

With additional reportage from PTI

Vicky Nanjappa