Bangalore/New Delhi: Intensifying discord in Karnataka compelled the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) national leadership to summon chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and the dissident Gali Reddy brothers to New Delhi to resolve the crisis it faces in the state. “All the important state leaders are being called to Delhi and would be here on Saturday and Sunday. Everything would be sorted out,” party chief Rajnath Singh told Mint in New Delhi.
However, Karnataka’s revenue minister G. Karunakar Reddy on Friday claimed that a majority of BJP lawmakers in the state were in favour of Yeddyurappa’s ouster. The dissidents released a so-called partial list of 28 state legislators who favoured a change and claimed support of 30-40 more members of the legislative assembly (MLAs). “These 28 MLAs are those who have come out in the open,” a state BJP leader said on condition of anonymity. “If a secret ballot is held, we are confident that nearly 60-70 MLAs will seek a change in the autocratic leadership of Yeddyurappa.”
Power struggle: Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. Hemant Mishra / Mint
“I am confident that all issues will be resolved amicably,” Yeddyurappa told reporters in Bangalore. “If some legislators feel that their grievances are not being heard, I will address that. If required, I am ready to modify my style of functioning.”
While one section of the dissident MLAs is holed up at Hyderabad, another section led by Anand Asnotikar, party MLA from Karwar, is camping in Goa.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, who looks after the affairs of the party in Karnataka, reached Mumbai on Friday from Bangalore after holding discussions with different factions for two days.
The “discussions are still on,” he said, but declined to comment on any framework to resolve the crisis.
In a curious twist to the Karnataka crisis, the Andhra Pradesh government, led by Congress party’s K. Rosiah, issued a notice to Obulapuram Mining Co. Pvt. Ltd for encroachment, trespass and illegal mining.
The Obulapuram mines are controlled by the dissident Reddy brothers, who are said to be close to Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekar Reddy, who was recently killed in a helicopter crash. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s supporters have been asking for the removal of Rosiah and installation of Jagan Mohan Reddy as the state’s chief minister.
“Mining industry in Karnataka has influenced the course of governments for more than a decade. The politics in the state have indeed proved that politics is not a morality play,” said Jyotirmaya Sharma, professor, department of political science, Hyderabad University. “Yeddyurappa today is the prisoner of his own politics of manoeuvres, which he employed after having a fragile majority.”