New Delhi: The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka is facing its first major test with a section of the alliance’s disgruntled law makers allegedly in talks with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership in the state.

A large section of the BJP, however, does not favour holding talks with members of legislative assembly (MLAs) of the Congress party or JD(S) and believe that the coalition government should be allowed to fail on its own.

Most of the BJP leaders of the state are of the view that the party should not be seen talking to JD(S) and Congress leaders as it would create a perception that BJP leadership is involved in destabilizing the state government.

“At least 15 MLAs of the Congress and JD(S) have approached BJP leaders in Karnataka. However, most of the leaders of the BJP are not in favour of holding these talks. The central leadership is also not keen, but a handful of BJP leaders are adamant about holding talks. These attempts may not result in anything and the coalition government would most likely survive," said a senior BJP leader based in Bengaluru.

The Congress, which has 80 MLAs in the 224-member assembly, is in alliance with the JD(S), which has 37 members, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which has one MLA. The BJP has a strength of 104 and two seats are currently vacant.

Senior Congress leaders confirmed that “more than a dozen" of the alliance MLAs were in touch with BJP but ruled out any “immediate threat" to the ruling coalition. The Congress leadership feels that a section of alliance MLAs are using “pressure tactics" ahead of a cabinet expansion and the filling of posts such as mayor and nomination for the legislative council.

“The rumours of MLAs toppling the government are baseless and unfounded. There may be slight differences over development in their constituencies but that does not mean quitting. None of the MLAs will leave the party," former chief minister Siddaramaiah wrote on Twitter. The BJP is “trying hard to topple the government" but it would be futile, he said.

“Disgruntled over a few issues, some of our MLAs are in touch with the BJP but there is no threat to the coalition. Our state leadership has been holding meetings with the MLAs and we are confident that our flock will stay together," a senior Congress leader from Bengaluru said requesting anonymity.

Siddaramaiah, along with senior party leaders such as deputy chief minister G. Parameshwara and state unit chief Dinesh Gundu Rao, were scheduled to reach the national capital late on Tuesday.

The Congress leaders are scheduled to meet party president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday to discuss a range of issues, including ways to check the growing speculation about the MLAs toppling the government in Karnataka.

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