'Qualified' MLAs receive royal welcome

Governor, however, refuses to meet them, citing holiday

home ground: The 10 BJP legislators wait outside the Raj Bhavan to meet Governor H R Bhardwaj in Bangalore on Sunday evening. dh PhotoThe legislators, who have now turned Yeddyurappa loyalists, were airlifted from Delhi and brought to Bangalore in a special chartered flight.

When the flight landed at the HAL airport, they were treated like heroes by their followers. The crowd was in a celebratory mood and burst crackers, whistled  and danced. Placards with pictures of the MLAs greeted them. But the supporters were not allowed to interact with the legislators as they were quickly packed off into a waiting mini bus by ministers Umesh Katti, Renukacharya and Murugesh Nirani.

The legislators were driven straight to the Raj Bhavan around 6.45 pm, where the Governor was closeted with some officials. The MLAs were not allowed to meet the Governor and had to wait for more than an hour outside the Raj Bhavan.

The Raj Bhavan Secretariat said it was closed on Sunday and conveyed that as the official reason for not letting the MLAs meet the Governor.

Taking questions from the media at Raj Bhavan, Balachandra Jarkiholi, on behalf of the 10 legislators, said the demand for change in leadership was a closed chapter as the high command had already declared that there was going to be no change in leadership. “We have faith in the leadership of Yeddyurappa. We are going by the direction of the high command,” Jarkiholi said.

To a question on whether the Governor would impose President’s Rule, Jarkiholi said: “The Supreme Court has not directed the imposition of President’s Rule. But as a precautionary measure, we are requesting the Governor against taking such a decision.”

Asked whether the five independents and Shankarlinge Gowda, who was among the 11 MLAs, were also supporting the BJP government, Jarkiholi said: “The independents may come tomorrow to Bangalore and Gowda may also join us.”

Jarkiholi, however, evaded questions on what caused the change of heart in the MLAs. He dismissed the questions saying it was not the time to talk about it. But there are speculations that at least three MLAs from the rebel camp –– Jarkiholi, Shivanagouda Naik and Anand Asnotikar –– may get Cabinet berths.

But on the record neither the MLAs nor any of the ministers, including the chief minister, indicated a Cabinet expansion.

As the BJP is in a comfortable position of power numerically, it did not show any interest in holding talks with the five independents, who were all ministers in the Yeddyurappa Cabinet before their disqualification by the Speaker.

They were not to be seen at Raj Bhavan or along with the 10 MLAs on Sunday, when the BJP was making a Herculean effort to meet the Governor.

Shankarlinge Gowda sticks to decision

Shankarlinge Gowda, BJP MLA from Mysore, who is at loggerheads with Yeddyurappa, seems to be the only MLA who has not expressed his jubilation over the apex court order.

When reporters asked him about his future course of action as the court has restored his membership, Gowda said: “My decision has not changed. I had opposed Yeddyurappa’s leadership last October, and I stick to my decision.”

Reactions of MLAs

They say there are no permanent friends or foes in politics. The BJP rebels who had criticised Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and sought his ouster last year sang a different tune on Sunday.

They were all praise for Yeddyurappa and even gave an undertaking to the Governor that he commanded their unconditional support. Here is what some of the MLAs had to say:

Balachandra Jarkiholi (Arabhavi)

We are supporting the BJP government. Nobody has pressured us. We spoke to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa last night over phone, and were convinced that we should stand by him. Also, the High Command has made it amply clear that there will be no change in the leadership. We have reconciled ourselves to this fact. All the 16 MLAs (11 ‘rebel’ MLAs and five independents) are united. Our support to the government will continue. We will withdraw the letter submitted to the Governor last October, and submit to him another letter today, expressing our support to the Yeddyurappa-led government.

Gopalkrishna Belur (Sagar)

We have spoken to senior BJP leaders including Arun Jaitley and Yeddyurappa. All of us, 11 ‘rebel’ MLAs, stand united and we have taken a collective decision to support the government in the interest of the State. We have accepted Yeddyurappa as our leader. What has happened in the past is well forgotten. A mistake was made, but we will not repeat it again.

Anand Asnotikar (Karwar)

Our main concern is the people of our constituencies, and we are keen that the BJP government completes its five-year term. We have spoken to senior BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley and they have assured us that all of us will be
taken care of well. The people of Karnataka have been very confused because of the developments in the past seven months. We want to end this dilemma and tell the people that we are with Yeddyurappa and are extending our full support
to this government.

Dr Sarvabhouma Bagali (Indi)

Our party’s government should complete its entire term. The recent bypolls have sent a clear indication that BJP is here to stay. This has been the influencing factor for us to support the government. The circumstances were different when we had gone against the BJP government last October. Now, the situation is different. Our full support is with Yeddyurappa.

S K Bellubbi (Basavana Bagewadi)

We have sailed through some bad moments. When you are part of a family such things are common. But all of that is now forgotten. Our only concern is the development of our constituencies. We have imposed no conditions on the State or Central leaders. We are willingly supporting the BJP government.

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