Reprieved rebels yet to decide on their future course of action

SC order and after:

United we stand: File photo of MLAs Shivaraj Tangadagi, P M Narendraswamy, D Sudhakar, Venkataramanappa and Goolihatti Shekar at the residence of Narendraswamy in Bangalore. KPN

The 11 BJP MLAs, whose disqualification was set aside by the Supreme Court are keeping  their future course of action under wraps.

There is much speculation on whether they will remain within the BJP fold as they claimed before the court, or will continue against Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa. All 16 MLAs, inclusive of five Independents, whose Assembly membership was restored on Friday, have been cagey with their statements, describing the apex court order as a “victory for truth and justice”, but not divulging anything more.

“We are all in Delhi now. We will come to Bangalore on Saturday. We have not taken any decision on our next step,” one of the 11 BJP MLAs, Balachandra Jharkiholi, said.
Independent MLA P M Narendraswamy said all 16 legislators were together and that they will take an unanimous decision on their next step.

Sources close to the MLAs said the legislators were open for options, including remaining with the BJP without complicating further their membership. They are also consulting experts and senior leaders before taking any decision. JD(S) State President H D Kumaraswamy, who instigated them to revolt against Chief Minister Yeddyurappa in October last year, learnt to have spoken to these MLAs soon after the SC verdict.

However, sources said, 16 MLAs are divided in their stand. While some want to come back to the BJP fold, others want to continue with their aborted mission by joining hands with the JD(S).

Decision of the 16 MLAs are crucial for the BJP Government. If they all decide to join hands with the Opposition, the Government will be in trouble. The strength of combined opposition, including 16 MLAs, will be 113, while the ruling party will have only 111. The simple majority required to form the Government is 113.

Shivangowda Nayak

A “victory for truth”was the unanimous response of three rebel MLAs to the Supreme Court order setting aside their disqualification by the Speaker of the Assembly.

“We have got justice and the reward for our long struggle,” was how former minister K Shivangowda Nayak reacted to the order. He spoke to the Deccan Herald on the phone.

Nayak, who is among the 11 BJP MLAs disqualified by Speaker K G Bopaiah, said Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had taken the “evil” decision to disqualify them because they criticised his“bad admnistration and lack of development.”

He said he will, along with other rebels, decide on the future course of action.

Shankaralingegowda

In Mysore, rebel MLA Shankaralingegowda said the rebels were punished “needlessly” although they were not against the BJP. Gowda, who has been a bitter critic of Yeddyurappa, was unsparing in his barbs against the chief minister. “The chief minister is an enemy of the farmers and is steeped in corruption,” Gowda said.

“When I was in difficulties, it was former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy and JD(S) legislature party leader H D Revanna who stood by me. Hence, I will consult them on my future course of action,” he said.

“We (all the 16 MLAs) will sit together and take a decision,” Gowd added.

Shivaraj Tangadagi

The Supreme Court order is an “inspiration for the struggle against evil forces,” was how ex-minister and independent MLA Shivaraj Tangadagi reacted.

Speaking to the Deccan Herald on the phone, Tangadagi said: “An attempt was made to besmirch our reputation. But the goddess of justice and the people of my constituency have stood by me.” He said he would continue as an independent. “There is no question of supporting the BJP government or joining the BJP,” he said, adding that all the 16 MLAs would get together and take a decision on their future course of action.

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