Amaregouda Linganagouda Patil Bayyapur, the Congress MLA from Kushtagi in Karnataka, on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of trying to lure him into its camp by offering him not only money but also a ministry in the state government. Linganagouda, who is from the Lingayat community and won by defeating Doddanagouda Hanamagouda Patil of the BJP by over 18,000 votes, claimed that he is going to remain with the Congress and abide by the decision taken by the party leadership.
"I am a Lingayat and there is no issue in supporting the JDS. BJP leaders had phoned me and asked me to join their party. They promised to make me a minister. But I am not going to ditch the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy (Janata Dal Secular leader) is our chief minister," said Linganagouda.
Allegations and counter-allegations have been flowing thick and fast ever since the Karnataka Assembly elections threw up a hung Assembly. The BJP has the largest number of MLAs at 104 but is well short of the halfway mark of 112 to form a government. The Congress and JDS with 78 and 37 MLAs respectively have come together to claim they have the numbers to provide a stable government to Karnataka. The Congress-JDS alliance has the support of one MLA of Bhaujan Samaj Party and the Independent legislator H Nagesh.
Some Congress MLAs from the Lingayat community are said to be upset after their leadership decided to support the JDS and offer the chief minister's post to Kumaraswamy. The BJP, on the other hand, has been accusing the Congress of trying to form government in Karnataka by the back door by entering into a post-poll alliance with the JDS.