Rebels in rethink mode

Rebels in rethink mode

Renukacharya, who seemingly spoke on behalf of the rebel BJP legislators, said on Thursday night: “We have no differences with Yeddyurappa. He is our leader. There is no question of our pulling back support to the government. We are all (rebels) coming back to Bangalore on Friday.”

Till late on Thursday evening the ruling BJP was busy working out strategies to save the Yeddyurappa government. But, the exercise looked bit easier when Renukacharya announced that Yeddyurappa was his leader. The rebel’s move has dealt a blow to the opposition parties’ plans to form an alternative government.

Renukacharya’s statement came within hours of the return of two of the 13 rebel BJP MLAs - S K Bellubbi and Raju Gowda – back into the party-fold. 

However, except Renukacharya, none of the rebels who are holed up in a luxury hotel in Goa announced that they are with Yeddyurappa. It is said that the BJP leaders, including those in Delhi, who are working out strategies to save the party government, prepared the ground to invoke the anti-defection law to tame the rebels, by referring to law books.

Disqualification threat

The party petitioned to Assembly Speaker Bopanna on Thursday night to issue show-cause notice to the 14 rebels as well as five Independents, who have been sacked as ministers, to disqualifty them for the rest of the Assembly term on the ground that they were indulging in anti-party activities. 

Once the news reached the rebels’ camp, Renukacharya began singing a different tune. Still, the Yeddyurappa camp is not ready to take at face value what Renukacharya is saying. Not being sure whether he and his associates would vote for Yeddyurappa when he seeks votes of confidence on October 11, the leaders in Delhi are busy in preparing a contigency plan ready to bail out the Chief Minister.

As the Governor has already asked Yeddyurappa to prove his majority and summoned the House for this purpose, the Chief Minister has to face the trust vote and prove his majority, as scheduled. The BJP has decided to issue whip to all its MLAs for the trust vote on Friday. Renukacharya’s announcement regarding his support to Yeddyurappa came just hours after mining magnate and minister Janardhana Reddy entered the resort where the rebels are camping.

Striking a different chord, BJP MLA Shivanagouda Naik, who was sacked as minister in the recent reshuffle of the Cabinet, said that the aim of the rebels was only to oust Yeddyurappa from power and not to pull down the party government.

Reddy, the peacemaker

Earlier, the party had assigned the operation to win back the rebels, ironically, to Tourism Minister Janardhana Reddy who had provided leadership to the intra-party rebellion against the Chief Minister a year ago.

Reddy, along with Minister Umesh Katti and senior leader Prabhakar Kore rushed to Goa early on Thursday to win over the rebels who had shifted their base to a resort there. Providing back-up support to Reddy were senior party leaders Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar.

JD(S) State President H D Kumaraswamy too had rushed to Goa in a charted flight in the evening to spike Reddy’s efforts to pacify rebels. The rebel MLAs had been in touch with Kumaraswamy for the last one week.

Two rebel legislators — S K Bellubbi and Raju Gowda — came back into the fold with the intervention of Reddy earlier in the day.

High drama prevailed in front of the Goa resort late in the evening as the police there refused to allow the ministers from Karnataka to meet the rebel MLAs inside the hotel.
Reddy termed the Goa government’s decision as “goondaism” aimed at stalling his efforts.

Divine blessings

Yeddyurappa, on the other end, sought divine blessings by offering special pooje at Rajarajeshwara temple at Taliperembu in neighbouring Kerala.

The chief minister strongly believes that he survived the revolt against him within the party in October last year after offering pooje at this temple. Putting up a brave front, the chief minister recommended the Governor to drop two more rebel ministers — Anand Asnotikar and Balachandra Jarkiholi.

“We are ready to hold talks and solve all their (rebels) problems. If not, they (rebels) will have to face disqualification for six years,” the chief minister warned.

Horsetrading

Both the ruling and the opposition parties, it is learnt, are indulging in horsetrading from Wednesday evening. The JD(S) and the Congress alleged that the BJP was trying to poach their MLAs in order to save the government.

The Congress and the BJP, as a result, ferried their MLAs to private resorts on the outskirts of Bangalore.

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