Yeddyurappa calls off Operation Lotus

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Bangalore: Under attack from Congress and JDS besides battling threats of being ousted, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Monday said his government enjoyed majority and there was no need for `Operation Lotus` under which Opposition MLAs were lured to the BJP.

"Under no circumstances will I continue Operation Lotus. The Government enjoys majority. There is no need for it," Yeddyurappa told a press conference organised to mark the occasion of the first-ever BJP government in the south completing three years in office.

Yeddyurappa, who has managed to survive challenges to his leadership from within his own party as also threats from Governor H R Bhardwaj, expressed optimism of a peaceful tenure in the coming two years, and said he would focus on rural development and welfare of rural masses.

"There is no scope for dissidence hereafter. They (rebels) have learnt lessons," he said.

The Centre, in its advisory to Yeddyurappa after it rejected Bhardwaj`s report recommending imposition of President`s rule, had reportedly pointed out to defections engineered by BJP by poaching MLAs from Congress and JDS and directed that it be stopped.

BJP currently has a majority of 121 MLAs in the 224 member House, with Supreme Court setting aside the Speaker`s order disqualifying 11 rebel BJP MLAs and five independents and following the rebels returning to the party fold.

Yeddyurappa claimed that 5 independents continued to support his ministry and they were in talks with him.

Yeddyurappa said in the next two years of his rule, he would focus on "kalyana Karnataka" (a welfare 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 among all sections of the society and accorded top priority to development in the sectors of agriculture, health, education and irrigation.

Agriculture sector growth which was just 1.5 per cent when BJP came to power has risen to six per cent, he claimed.

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.

The government has set a target of developing 15,000 km of rural areas over the next two years, work on which will commence in a fortnight, he said. "Significant changes are taking places across the state. But there is a lot to achieve", he said.

Yeddyurappa flayed Opposition parties for what he described as "dictating" to the government, which he said is not good for democracy.

Without naming JDS 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 also.

Yeddyurappa claimed that he had checked illegal mining to the extent of 90 per cent and only 10 per cent of the menace was still prevalent which would also be eradicated.

He denied that Housing Minister V Somanna`s family members were involved in illegal mining in Tumkur district.

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 endorsed the statement made by BJP leader Sushma Swaraj that she did not influence anyone in the induction of Reddy brothers as "correct", saying he had inducted them after consulting the party high command.

On cabinet expansion, he said, "I will do it when the high command permits and after consultations".

Yeddyurappa said in the last three years, he had toured every part of the state, travelling 2.60 lakh km and holding 1,750 public meetings.

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