BJP, rebels play safe for time being

Who will blink first? The ruling BJP or the 14 MLAs who stood by B S Yeddyurappa at the KJP rally in Haveri?

Both the camps are playing their game, though it appears that they may not cross the line which can invite serious trouble. On the eve of the State BJP core committee meeting in Belgaum, there were speculations that the BJP will take some action to send a message that indiscipline will not be tolerated. But there was no final word on the nature of action that would be initiated.

At the most, show cause notices would be issued to those who have violated the party diktat, asking them as to why action should not be taken against them for their indiscipline.

There were speculations that some of the key portfolios held by loyalists of Yeddyurappa would be taken back. Another speculation making rounds was that the core committee may recommend to the Speaker, to take up disqualification proceedings against the 14 MLAs. However, the party may not pursue it to the logical end later.

Nehru Olekar, MLA from Haveri, who has identified himself with Yeddyurappa, told reporters that all the 14 MLAs who attended the rally have resolved to resign as MLAs if the BJP decides to take action against them. “We will resign even before the action is initiated,” he claimed. The BJP had earlier declared that it will take disciplinary action against legislators if they take part in the KJP rally in Haveri on Sunday. The party was, however, not ready to take immediate action against the MLAs in view of the ongoing legislature session.

With the Yeddyurappa followers expressing their intention to resign as MLAs, the BJP leaders are now cautious in issuing statements to the media. Former chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda, who was vocal in demanding action against Yeddyurappa’s followers, said the core committee will discuss the issue and take appropriate action.

To consult central leaders

In an interaction with Deccan Herald, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said that the core committee will consider all options to send a message to those who violate party rules. “The party central leaders have asked us to discuss the issue. Anyhow, the final decision on taking action rests with the central leaders. We will not be taking any decision independent of the leaders in New Delhi,” he said.

Asked whether the 14 MLAs would be disqualified as members or just suspended from
the party, he said, “I know that, of the 14 MLAs, some were forced to attend the convention and made to sit on the dais. “When I know the truth, how can I take extreme view on their action,” he said. Asked whether it was a tough challenge to build the party without Yeddyurappa, Shettar said, “No, we are a party with 30 lakh members. All we need to do is instill confidence among workers that the party is strong.”

He said Dharmendra Pradhan, in-charge of the BJP affairs in Karnataka, has no plans to attend the core committee meeting. The core committee may also discuss filling two vacancies in the Cabinet. While B J Puttaswamy was sacked as Co-operation minister, Sunil Valyapure resigned as Infrastructure Development minister.
Budget in February

Asked whether he would prefer dissolving the Assembly following the crisis and face elections, Shettar said, “Why should I dissolve the Assembly? The party has given me some responsibility which I should be fulfilling. I will present the budget in February. Later, I will think about the elections,” he said.

‘We are breathing easy now’

“I and others in the BJP are breathing easy after B S Yeddyurappa quit the party. Some among the 14 MLAs who were on the dais at the KJP meeting were forced to be there. They were cornered by Yeddyurappa.”

This was how Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar reacted on Tuesday when Deccan Herald asked him how he felt after the exit of Yeddyurappa. “There was a Lakshman Rekha, which had become a major constraint, when he was in the party. Now we are independent,” he remarked.

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