Infighting in the ruling BJP in Karnataka is likely to intensify as the party plans disciplinary action against legislators supporting former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who is quitting the BJP to launch his own party next month.
"The BJP would take action against three legislators and a Lok Sabha member, who are supporters of Yeddyurappa, for their tirade against BJP central leadership," state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa told reporters Monday at Bellary, about 300 km north of Bangalore.
Assembly elections are due May next year but Yeddyurappa is daring the BJP to dissolve the assembly now and go for elections. Both Eshwarappa and Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, BJP's third chief minister in its maiden rule in the state since May 2008, have dismissed his challenge and assert that elections would be held as due in May.
Yeddyurappa has said he would float his Karnataka Janata Party Dec 9 at a public meeting in Haveri. His decision follows what he claims as "betrayal" by the BJP central leadership to keep its promise of making him state party chief after he was forced to quit as chief minister's post over mining bribery charges in July last year.
Eshwarappa is confident that only a handful of BJP legislators would join the new party, though Yeddyurappa claims that over 40 of the party's 119 legislators, including several ministers would follow him. The state assembly is 225-strong, including one nominated member.