Bengaluru: The BJP has hit back at the Congress for alleging that the saffron party was trying to poach its MLAs in Karnataka. The BJP on Monday asked the Congress to keep its own house in order before hurling accusations at others.

Union Minister and BJP leader DV Sadananda Gowda said, “They (Congress) should keep their house in order. They are not able to keep their MLAs in Karnataka together and simply pointing at the BJP.”

The Congress has been claiming that the BJP was trying to poach members of the ruling coalition. Speaking to ANI on Monday, Karnataka Minister and Congress leader Krishna Byre Gowda said, “The fact is that the BJP is indulging in poaching undemocratically, against democratically established Karnataka government.”

However, he added that it was an ongoing process, not specific to the day. He said, “The BJP is behind efforts to de-stabilise this govt. It is not specific to today.” The minister’s outburst found echoes in similar sentiments expressed by party heavyweight DK Shivakumar earlier.

Shivakumar, also a minister, had said that the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ to topple the state’s coalition government was for real, alleging that three Congress MLAs were camping in a Mumbai hotel in the “company of some BJP leaders”.

“Horse trading is going on in the state. Three of our MLAs are in Mumbai in a hotel with some BJP MLAs and leaders. We are aware of what has transpired there and how much has been offered to them,” he said.

Operation Lotus is a reference to the BJP’s attempt to lure several then Opposition MLAs to defect to ensure stability of then-government headed by BS Yeddyurappa in 2008.

Shivakumar also accused Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of being “lenient” towards the BJP. “Our Chief Minister is a bit lenient towards the BJP. By ”lenient”, I mean he is not exposing the facts he knows. All the MLAs have conveyed to the chief minister about the ongoing conspiracies. They have also told Siddaramaiah about it.”

The minister said former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao were aware of the development.

On his part, the Chief Minister claimed the three MLAs had taken his permission for the Mumbai trip. He said, “All three of them (Congress MLAs) are in touch with me. They went to Mumbai after informing me. My government isn’t under any threat. I know who all the BJP is trying to contact and what they’re offering. I can handle it, why should media be concerned?”