BJP in a fix as 16 MLAs attend Yeddyurappa rally

Former chief minister says won’t bring down govt, but dares BJP to suspend the supporters who attended his rally
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First Published: Sun, Dec 09 2012. 02 53 PM IST
B.S. Yeddyurappa with party workers in Karnataka on Saturday. Photo: PTI
B.S. Yeddyurappa with party workers in Karnataka on Saturday. Photo: PTI
Updated: Sun, Dec 09 2012. 10 46 PM IST
Bangalore: Former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa staged a show of strength at a massive rally in the north Karnataka town of Haveri on Sunday that was attended by 16 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) and seven members of the legislative council (MLCs).
The rally was held to mark Yeddyurappa’s ascension as the president of the newly launched Karnataka Janata Party after his exit from the BJP, and the presence of the state legislators on the occasion underlined his support base in the state’s ruling party.
Yeddyurappa said he considered the present government a “coalition” between the BJP and his supporters. “If they do want to discontinue the coalition, they are free to do so,” he said.
For the BJP, the open rebellion by the party MLAs is a thorny issue. In the Karnataka assembly, the party has the support of 118 MLAs—just eight more the halfway mark of 110. In the 224-member
assembly, the BJP has 118 seats, the Congress 71, Janata Dal (Secular) 26 and independents seven. Two seats are vacant.
Chief minister Jagadish Shettar said the BJP had the numbers required to continue in office.
“I would like to make one thing clear—BJP has got all the numbers to stay in power,” he asserted.
A BJP MLA, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Yeddyurappa’s claims of the state government being a coalition would not stand unless he managed to attract at least 40 MLAs required to sidestep the anti-defection law.
“At a meeting he organized earlier this week, hardly 20 BJP MLAs turned up to show their support,” he said.
The BJP has also initiated action against Yeddyurappa’s supporters. On Saturday, Shettar dropped cooperatives minister B.J. Puttasamy, a close Yeddyurappa aide, from the cabinet. Another Yeddyurappa supporter and Tumkur member of Parliament G.S. Basavaraju was suspended on Saturday. Infrastructure development minister Sunil Valyapure has submitted his resignation to Shettar.
At the rally, Yeddyurappa made it clear that he would not do anything to bring the government down. He also dared the BJP to suspend the supporters who attended Sunday’s rally.
“Shettar said action will be taken against legislators if they participated in today’s rally. The government has no majority now. You are in chief minister’s chair because of the support of Yeddyurappa. If you have the guts, dissolve the assembly and seek a fresh mandate,” he said.
A decision on action against party MLAs is expected to be taken on Monday when state BJP president and deputy chief minister K. Eswarappa chairs a meeting of district officer bearers of the party at Shimoga.
Yeddyurappa became chief minister in 2008 after the BJP came to power by winning Karnataka state elections. His tenure was marked by a series of rebellions and corruption cases. He was forced to step down in July 2011 after being implicated in a report on illegal mining submitted by the state’s anti-corruption ombudsman.
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First Published: Sun, Dec 09 2012. 02 53 PM IST
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