BJP unfazed by SC order on legislators

Though the party is confident that the 11 BJP MLAs who had rebelled - leading to their disqualification by the Speaker under the Anti-Defection Law - were likely to support the government, the party top brass is keeping all the developments closely, a senior leader in the party said.

"Our senior leaders had got in touch with the 11 rebel MLAs and they are not going against us," a leader confided.

While BJP is confident that the 11 rebel MLAs will now fall in line and support the Government, it is also hopeful that some of the five Independents who were disqualified earlier may also be amenable.

"When these MLAs had rebelled, they only wanted Yeddyurappa to be removed from the post of chief minister. Even at that time they wanted to come back once they realised the party high command would not yield to their request. But then Yeddyurappa put his foot down," a party leader said.

BJP sources maintained that the party had anticipated this eventuality - where the SC verdict may go against it - and made preparations for the same.

The victory in three by-elections on Friday has further strengthened the party.

Yeddyurappa is said to be confident of arranging the required numbers if things come to such a pass, party leaders said.

Party leader Arun Jaitley said that the party remained unfazed by the Supreme Court verdict. "The Supreme Court has thrown 11 of these 16 MLAs into the BJP camp. And we have won three by-elections," Jaitley told reporters here.

Jaitley, meanwhile, denied that the government should test its strength afresh after this verdict. "The question does not arise. The by-election results are an example of the popularity of our government in the State," he said.

Two ministers, Umesh Katti and Govind Karjol are likely to leave for Delhi on Saturday to hold talks with the 16 MLAs.

Not a setback, says Yeddyurappa

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa insisted that it was “not a setback” to his government but that it had only increased the strength of the BJP in the Assembly.

“In effect, with the order, the BJP strength in the Assembly has increased to 120. With the support of the Independents and the Speaker, the number adds up to 122. We enjoy majority in the House,” he told reporters. He said the 11 legislators (rebel BJP members disqualified by the Speaker) had admitted they were BJP members. He said they had been asked to attend the budget session of the State legislature commencing on Monday.

To a question whether it was morally right for Speaker K G Bopaiah to continue in office following the SC observation that he had not observed values and principles of natural justice, Yeddyurappa said: “The Speaker will continue in his post and complete his full term. If the BJP comes back to power for a second term, he will continue to be Speaker.”

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