Loyalists want Yeddyurappa to delay party launch

In what could be termed as a dilemma over their next political move, several loyalists of B S Yeddyurappa in the State Cabinet are learnt to have urged the former chief minister to postpone the launch of his proposed new party by a few months.

Sources said Yeddyurappa had been advised to time the launch immediately after the official announcement of the election schedule.

The loyalists, including ministers Basavaraj Bommai, Murugesh Nirani, V Somanna and C M Udasi are learnt to have told Yeddyurappa that it would be difficult for them to openly identify with his yet-to-be launched Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) while continuing as ministers in the Shettar Cabinet, and that such a move would send a wrong message to the electorate. At the same time, they are said to have told their leader that they were ready to resign as ministers if he desires that they identify with the KJP immediately.

The response of the loyalists comes following Yeddyurappa’s open invitation to ministers, legislators and Lok Sabha members supporting him to attend the launch of his party at Haveri on December 10. On Friday, they held two rounds of discussions at the residence of Udasi, which was attended by Yeddyurappa too.

Sources said several MLAs had sought more time to decide whether they would join Yeddyurappa’s party. Besides, the loyalists are said to have pointed out that their immediate resignation as ministers could lead to the fall of the Shettar government. Yeddyurappa had said that he would allow Shettar to complete his full term as chief minister.

Following interaction with his loyalists, Yeddyurappa dropped hints that the State was moving towards early polls. “All parties are gearing up for polls. The resignation of S M Krishna as External Affairs minister and his deputation for party work is also an indication that the Congress is preparing for polls,” he said.

Replying to a query, Yeddyurappa said he had left it to his loyalists to decide whether they should attend the December 10 convention.

In the evening, supporters of Yeddyurappa held a meeting with Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar to discuss the ways of retaining Yeddyurappa in the BJP. Late in the night, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka met Yeddyurappa at his Dollars Colony residence and tried to convince him not to quit the BJP.

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