Yeddyurappa's men in BJP skip 'chintan baithak'

Ministers loyal to B S Yeddyurappa in the Jagadish Shettar Cabinet stayed away from the “chitan baithak” organised by the BJP to prepare the State budget and gear up for the Assembly polls in Bangalore on Saturday.

Only 12 of the 31 ministers in the Shettar Cabinet attended the meeting held at a hotel on the outskirts of Bangalore. Prominent among those who remained absent from the meeting include Shobha Karandlaje, M P Renukacharya, V Somanna, Murgesh Nirani, Umesh Katti, Basavaraj Bommai, C M Udasi and Raju Gowda (all close to Yeddyurappa).
While no official reason was given for their absence, it was apparent that they were in a way showing their solidarity to the former chief minister. When contacted, Udasi said he was busy in his home district Haveri. “If I was in Bangalore, I would have attended the meeting,” he said.

BJP General Secretary Pralhad Joshi tried to downplay their absence by stating that the party took a decision to invite all ministers to the meeting late on Friday. “The communication must have reached them late. Also, ministers have other responsibilities to discharge,” he said. Joshi said Shettar will hold another meeting with these ministers if required.

Ministers Balachandra Jarkiholi, Anand Asnotikar, C P Yogeeshwara, Varthur Prakash, Anand Singh also stayed away from the function without citing any reason. While Jarkiholi was not available for comment, his aide said the minister was busy attending constituency related programmes in Arabhavi.

Joshi said several suggestions were made at the meeting on inclusion of populists scheme in the budget.

He also downplayed the threat by Yeddyurappa to dislodge the State government soon after Sankranti (January 14).

“The deadlines set by Yeddyurappa are being postponed by the day. It will extend till elections are announced,” he said.

Joshi expressed confidence that Shettar would present the State budget in February this year.

Replying to queries, Joshi said the party will take action against those MLAs who have identified with Yeddyurappa’s KJP but did not indicate any time frame for it.

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