But, BJP may not act against MLAs
Ministers in the Jagadish Shettar-led BJP government and, heads of boards and corporations nominated by the BJP may be stripped of their positions if they attend the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) convention scheduled to be held in Haveri on
Sources in the BJP told Deccan Herald that the ministers and heads of boards/corporations will have to pay the price if they attend the Haveri convention where former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa is scheduled to announce the launch of the KJP.
However, the BJP will not expel from the party those attending the meet if they are MLAs, as such a move would bring down its strength in the Assembly.
The BJP has not expelled any of the MLAs who have identified themselves with the BSR Congress of former minister B Sriramulu.
Attending a political convention other than that of the BJP may not merit expulsion from the party, the sources said. The BJP’s argument is that in case the MLAs resign on their own, then party would not be the loser as it would still have sufficient numbers to continue in power.
Ministers C M Udasi, Basavaraj Bommai, Murugesh Nirani, Shobha Karandlaje, M P Renukacharya, V Somanna, B J Puttaswamy, Umesh Katti, Revu Naik Belamagi and Raju Gowda have identified themselves with Yeddyurappa, who has rebelled against the BJP.
BJP State President K S Eshwarappa has already warned that a legislator can’t identify himself with both, the BJP and the KJP. At the most, a couple of ministers — Udasi, Karandlaje and Puttaswamy— may attend the Haveri convention, it is said.
No public announcement
Udasi hails from Haveri, where preparations are on for the KJP convention. So far not a single minister has publicly declared that he would express solidarity with Yeddyurappa at the convention.
Sources said that three ministers from northern Karnataka, who are loyal to Yeddyurappa, have told him that they would be forced to resign as ministers in case they are compelled to attend the Haveri meeting.
They are not ready to give room for the BJP to take action against them. They are also not convinced that Yeddyurappa would stick to his decision to permanently bid goodbye to the BJP, even after floating his own party. Therefore, a majority of his loyalists have made it clear to him that they would like to consult people of their constituency before taking a decision to quit the BJP.
At a meeting on Saturday, Yeddyurappa loyalists made vain efforts to convince Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka, to make the former chief minister party president. Udasi, Bommai and Nirani were among those who attended the meeting.
‘Nothing to offer’
The central leadership, through Pradhan, conveyed to the supporters of Yeddyurappa that there is nothing the party can offer him at this juncture. If the former chief minister is willing, then he can be on the election committee but without setting any conditions.
Pradhan suggested the loyalists that they should try to persuade Yeddyurappa to postpone the Haveri convention so that the high command can come up with some offer for the rebel leader.
Anti-Advani remarks irk Naidu
BJP vice president M Venkaiah Naidu has taken exception to Yeddyurappa’s outburst against party veteran L K Advani. It is left for Yeddyurappa to take a final call on continuing in the BJP.
But, he should not belittle a senior leader such as Advani, under whose leadership even
Yeddyurappa built his political career, he said.
Addressing the media in Bangalore on Sunday, Naidu said that even if Yeddyurappa leaves the BJP, workers will continue to be loyal to the party. A party comes to power because of its policies and not because of any individual, he remarked.
Referring to Yeddyurappa’s allegation that Bangalore South MP H N Ananth Kumar had made money by selling Hotel Ashok when he was a minister in the NDA government, Naidu said the hotel was not sold by the ministry held by Kumar but by the ministry of disinvestment.