With an eye on the upcoming assembly polls and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has planned to take its ‘Operation Lotus to a new level by targeting opposition camps in states where the party is already in power.
Till now the key objective of ‘Operation Lotus’ is forming the government in opposition ruled states by ensuring defections in the ruling party or alliance. Moving a step further, now the saffron party is also planning ‘Operation Lotus’ in BJP ruled states by ensuring defections with a two third majority from the opposition camp.
A senior party functionary told IANS that there was nothing wrong in it as no one allows opponents to gain strength and the BJP is also doing the same.
“Will Congress allow us to grow? No, no single political party anywhere in the world will allow its opponent to grow. We also draw up plans and execute accordingly and there is nothing wrong in it. And if someone wants to join us leaving their party, what can we do,” he said.
The BJP leadership believes that weakening the Opposition in the party ruled states will send a strong message to the Opposition in other states, especially poll bound ones.
A senior leader pointed out that the recent change in government in Maharashtra and reports of possible defections from the Goa Congress legislative party has weakened the main opposition party (Congress) electoral chances in the upcoming assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
“Regular defections from the opposition camps gives an edge in the perception battle even before the polls. People in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh know that the opposition is in no position to challenge the ruling BJP as they failed to save their government (Maharashtra) or keep their MLAs together while in opposition (Goa),” he said.
The phrase “Operation Lotus’ was first used in the 2008 Karnataka assembly elections. Former Karnataka minister and BJP leader G. Janardhana Reddy had said that the party had drawn up a strategy to cross the halfway mark by engineering mass defections from the opposition camp and securing support from Independents.
Sources said that the BJP central leadership has asked state in-charges to find out any possibility of defections from the opposition camps in Goa, Karnataka, Haryana, Gujarat and other states.
“It has been discussed that instead of allowing the joining of a few lawmakers, defections should be done with the support of two third MLAs like it was done in Maharashtra. In the absence of support of two third MLAs, the rebels would have to resign from membership of the legislature and go for re-election,” sources said.
Another senior functionary noted that the whole purpose is to weaken the opposition and further strengthen the party.