Karnataka BJP row intensifies as Yeddyurappa fires fresh salvo
BANGALORE LEADERSHIP tussle in the faction-ridden ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka on Sunday reached a breaking point with scam-hit former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa setting a 48- hour deadline to Tuesday evening for his re-instatement.
“Wait for 48 hours my friends, you will know,” he told reporters on Sunday evening ahead of the assembly’s budget session beginning March 20.
Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda is to present the budget on Wednesday but Yeddyurappa seems determined to prevent this.
Gowda took over on August 4 last year from Yeddyurappa, who quit on July 31 over corruption charges, and is preparing to present his first budget which will also be the last as the state assembly polls are due April-May near year.
“I have the support of 70 (of the party’s 120) legislators.
We are gathering at one place so that the party high command knows the situation and takes the right decision very soon,” Yeddyurappa said at his residence after a meeting with over 50 legislators, including several ministers, supporting him.
“Fiftyfive legislators are here. Fifteen are more joining us tomorrow (Monday),” he said as he led the 55 legislators to a resort on Bangalore outskirts in two buses.
Yeddyurappa is buoyed by the fact that his one time rival in the party, Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar, has turned his supporter in the battle to unseat Gowda.
Gowda had beaten Shettar in the race to be BJP’s second chief minister in August last year.
Gowda was Yeddyurappa’s choice and Shettar was aligned with the rival camp headed by party general secretary and Bangalore South Lok Sabha member H N Ananth Kumar.
Shettar told reporters that he expected the party high command to positively respond to Yeddyurappa’s demand by Monday evening. About ten parliament members of the party from the state plan to meet BJP central leaders in Delhi Monday to demand immediate re-instatement of Yeddyurappa, party Lok Sabha member G S Basavaraj said.
The leadership tussle has left a section of BJP ministers and legislators squirming as the party’s reputation has been severely dented as the infighting is continuing on top of corruption scandals involving over 20 party legislators.
Giving vent to this anger Municipal Administration Minister Balachandra Jarakiholi on Sunday called for assembly dissolution and holding early polls if the faction fight does not end immediately.
He said he and 19 other legislators will resign from the assembly after Gowda presents the budget and meet Governor H R Bhardwaj to seek dissolution of the house, whose term ends early next year.
Meanwhile, the bypoll to Karnataka’s Udupi- Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat ended peacefully on Sunday with over 60 percent of 1.24 million voters casting their ballots.
“Around 60 percent voting has taken place and the process was peaceful,” a spokesperson for the state election office told reporters in Bangalore. Booths opened at 8 am and voting closed at 5 pm. The bypoll has been caused by Bharatiya Janata Party’s D V Sadananda Gowda vacating the seat after becoming chief minister last August, succeeding scam-hit party colleague B S Yeddyurappa.