The media co-ordinator for the Reddys’ informed journalists by SMS that some of the rebels are returning and that they will “confess their mistake at the party office in Malleswaram” in the evening. But neither the leaders nor the rebels turned up at the party office till late in the evening.
Sources close to the Reddys said rebels S K Bellubbi, Sarvabhouma Bagali, Manappa Vajjal would return, andthat two others - Anand Asnotikar and Goolihatti Shekar (Independent) - were in a repentant mood and prepared to admit their ‘mistake’.
The reporters waited at the party office in Malleswaram, where baffled party functionaries told that them there was no such development. When none turned up, the Reddys’ office again sent an SMS to the mediapersons stating “the scheduled programme may be delayed for some time as talks are going on.”
According to party sources, Janardhana Reddy, trying to re-establish his supremacy in the party, had convinced some of the rebels to return. He had got the approval of party State President K S Eshwarappa for the plan. The plan was to make the rebels recant in front of Eshwarappa.
But Yeddyurappa is learnt to have opposed the move the moment he learnt about it. Eshwarappa, who was in the party office to attend the programme, immediately rushed to the Chief Minister’s home office where an all-party meeting on the Cauvery river issue was on. Minister Janardhana Reddy too arrived at the office. Their efforts to convince Yeddyurappa in this regard went in vain. The Chief Minister, it is said, stuck to his stand and told Reddy that the rebels will be of little use to the party at this juncture as the matter has gone to court and the verdict is expected to come in a couple of days.
The Reddys had no choice but send another SMS to the media stating “the scheduled programme stands cancelled. We deeply regret the inconvenience.” Vajjal, when contacted, said none had asked him to go the BJP office. He also said he has already tendered his apology to the Party President for violating the whip and not voting on the confidence motion.
There were also rumours that the entire thing was a drama staged by the party to project that the JD(S) has let down the rebels and that they are desperate to come back to the party fold.
In another development, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy met Governor H R Bhardwaj along with some disqualified rebel BJP MLAs late in the evening. He was accompanied Asnotikar, Balachandra Jarkiholi, Y Sampangi and Bellubbi among others.
The legal angle
According to legal experts, membership of rebel MLAs can be restored only by the court at this juncture. The Speaker can restore their membership only if court rejects his decision on disqualification. The Karnataka high court has already completed hearing on 11 disqualified BJP rebel MLAs’ case, and as far as five Independents are concerned, the hearing will begin on November 2.