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Alarm bells start ringing for Congress-JD(S) as five MLAs go missing
According to reports, the Congress-JD(S) combine issued an orange alert on Wednesday morning after 5 Karnataka MLAs went "incommunicado".

After a hung Assembly post declaration of the polls results on Tuesday, the Congress-Janata Dal Secular combine had claimed that it had sufficient numbers to form the next government in Karnataka though the BJP had emerged as the single largest party winning 104 out of the 222 Assembly seats for which elections were held on May 12, missing the magic number of 112 just by a whisker.

A meeting convened today of the newly-elected legislators by the Congress was delayed in the morning after the party failed to get in touch with three of its MLAs, namely Rajshekhar Patil, Nagendra and Anand Singh. Interestingly, both Nagendra and Anand are believed to be close to the Reddy brothers who are part of the BJP camp.

Furthermore, two JD(S) lawmakers, Raja Venkatappa and Venkata Rao Nadagouda also remained absent from their party's meeting held at a five-star hotel in Bengaluru.

All these developments come amidst reports of several legislators claiming that they are being approached by the BJP.

Congress MLA Amaregouda Linganagouda Patil Bayyapar was quoted by ANI as saying, "I got a call from the BJP leaders. They said come to us and said we'll give a ministry to you. We'll make you a minister. But, I'm going to stay here. HD Kumaraswamy is our chief minister."

As per reports, JD(S) MLA Sarvanna has also claimed that four or five of his colleagues had been approached by the BJP.

However, outgoing CM Siddaramaiah was quick to rubbish such reports. On arriving at the Congress party headquarters for attending the lawmakers' meeting, Siddaramaiah said, "All the Congress MLAs are intact. Nobody is missing. We are confident of forming the government."

Congress leader DK Shivakumar said, "They (BJP) are poaching our MLAs, and we know that. Every day, there is a lot of pressure. But it is not so easy as two parties have the necessary numbers. However, we are taking all necessary steps."

The Congress leaders have unofficially said that they plan to move their legislators to a resort out of fear of them being poached by the BJP.

"Yes, there is a plan. We have to safeguard our MLAs. We will let you know about the plan in time," Shivakumar informed the media today.

In the meanwhile, the BJP had no qualms in admitting that the party was indeed in touch with Congress and JD(S) lawmakers.

"The people of Karnataka have believed in BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. That is why the BJP will form the government here. A lot of people are angry within the JD(S) and within the Congress. They will come to BJP," BJP leader KS Eshwarappa said.

The Congress which has won 78 seats in the Karnataka Assembly elections had on Tuesday offered its support to the JD(S), the third largest party with 38 seats in forming the government in the state and keeping the BJP away from power.

Yesterday, the fear of "MLA shopping" was raised by JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, who aspires to be the next chief minister of Karnataka with Congress' support.

Kumaraswamy accused the BJP of launching "Operation Lotus Part 2", pointing towards the 2008 incident dubbed by many as "Operation Lotus" when 6 JD(S) and Congress MLAs had resigned and crossed over to the BJP.

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