Legislators show little appetite for CM's bait

Legislators show little appetite for CM's bait

Of the 107 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs, only about 40, including ministers, turned up at his residence on Race Course Road here. Most of them were those identified already with the chief minister’s camp. The numbers attain significance as both pro- and anti - Yeddyurappa camps can achieve their goal provided they have an adequate number of MLAs on their side.

In the light of the latest rebellion in the party led by BJP State unit president K S Eshwarappa with the active support of MP Ananth Kumar, the chief minister had invited all legislators for breakfast in a bid to mend fences and to project a picture of unity.  It was also to show how much support he enjoyed among the legislators to his detractors. However, by staying away, the disgruntled MLAs made it abundantly clear that they were in no mood for a compromise. They are apparently unhappy with the “dictatorial” attitude of the chief minister as well as with his style of administration.

Among the prominent absentees were K S Eshwarappa, Ministers Jagadish Shettar, the Bellary Reddys and Sriramulu, S A Ramdas, Visveshwara Hegde Kageri and S A Ravindranath.

Minister R Ashoka, who is keeping a distance from both camps, also skipped the meeting. Minister Suresh Kumar, who was on his way to attend a function at the Rambhapuri Mutt in Balehonnur on Friday, was asked by the chief minister to attend the breakfast meeting. By the time he cut short his trip and returned to Bangalore, the meeting was over.

Yeddyurappa’s loyalists C M Udasi, Basavaraj Bommai, B N Bache Gowda, C C Patil, Revu Naik Belamagi, V Somanna, V S Acharya, Lakshman Savadi, Umesh Katti and Murgesh Nirani were present. Minister Govind Karjol and Belamagi, it is said, though not identified with the Yeddyurappa camp, did respond to the CM’s invite.

Yeddyurappa tried in vain to put on a brave face by stating that he would convene a legislature party meeting soon. “I will discuss with Eshwarappa and finalise a date for holding the BJP legislature party. All constituency-related issues raised by legislators will be resolved at the meeting,” Yeddyurappa said.

He claimed that Friday’s meeting was only an informal get-together and reiterated that there was no rebellion in the party. “I will continue as chief minister for the remaining tenure of two years. I will also direct ministers in charge of various districts to address the grievances of MLAs,” he said.

Sources in the anti-Yeddyurappa camp said they would continue to lie low for sometime following the central leadership’s assurance that their complaints against Yeddyurappa would be handled appropriately.

Efforts by the chief minister’s camp on Thursday to douse the rebellion by talking to individual legislators seems to have gone in vain. However, sources said talks with the disgruntled legislators would continue. Some of Yeddyurappa’s close aides are said to have advised him to deal with the rebels firmly, irrespective of the consequences.
Following the fresh bout of problems, the BJP has postponed the inauguration of its office at Malleswaram which was scheduled for March 23 and 24. The function may be held now on May 5 and 6.

The chief minister may have to face some uncomfortable questions at the “prantha baitak” of the RSS scheduled for March 22 and 23 in Bangalore.

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