Second trust vote may be a photo-finish for BJP

With Speaker K G Bopaiah disqualifying 11 rebel BJP MLAs and five Independents, the effective strength of the 224-member Karnataka Assembly has been reduced to 208.
BJP needs 105 to prove its majority, the exact number of MLAs that it claims to have at present. The Speaker can also cast his vote in favour of the government in case of a tie.

However, it may not be smooth sailing for the BJP. One of its MLAs -- Manappa Vaijjal -- did not attend the meeting of party legislators with senior leaders at the residence of L K Advani. Karnataka BJP MLAs confirmed, pleading anonymity, that Vaijjal was close to JD(S) and may ditch the party during the crucial trust vote on October 14.  However, efforts were on to bring him around, sources said.

Today's meeting was attended by only 100 of the 105 MLAs whom Yeddyurappa claims to have on his side. But party leaders claimed that four of those absent in the meeting had sent messages and reasons for not being present.

The possibility of further 'poaching' (though this will lead to disqualification) of BJP MLAs by Congress and JD(S) is not being ruled out with President's Rule (followed by fresh elections a few months down the line) looming large. BJP leaders claimed they had won over two JD(S) MLAs to their side and this would tilt the balance in their favour.
Shoba Karandlaje, minister and close associate of Yeddyurappa, was confident of having the numbers.

"We are confident we will prove our majority on October 14. We have the numbers. Those who do not have support are spreading rumours that we are going to lose," she said.

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