Rift between Karnataka CM and rebels widens

A group of seven ministers led by Reddy stayed away from a meeting called by Yeddyurappa today and held a parallel strategy session, bringing into open the fragility of a truce worked out between the two factions a few months ago.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with more than 20 ministerial colleagues, Yeddyurappa put up a brave face, denying any rift and said he would hold talks with Reddy brothers -- Janardhana Reddy and Revenue Minister G Karunakara Reddy -- to sort out "minor differences".
Sources in the rebels camp, however, said they had decided against accepting any invitation for talks by Yeddyurappa and would meet at Hospet in Bellary district on November two to chalkout further plan of action.
The sources said there would be no compromise on their demand for a change in Yeddyurappa's leadership.
Minister for Higher Education Aravind Limbavali and Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai, who played the role of emissaries to persuade the Reddy brothers to come for talks, have apparently failed in their mission, they said.
Sources close to Yeddyurappa said the ministers asked him to rein in Reddy brothers whom they accused of indulging in "blackmail" tactics.

The Reddy brothers, who own minefields, have in recent days been campaigning against a new cess imposed on lorries transporting iron ore but Yeddyurappa has strongly justified the decision.
Meanwhile, Yeddyurappa said today's meeting debated on construction of houses to those displaced in the recent worst-ever floods in the state. He said "aasare" programme envisaged by the government would be launched on November two.
At the two-and-a-half hour meeting, it was decided to build one lakh houses in the next six months, he said.
"There are no differences with Reddys. They are also trying to help flood-affected by constructing houses. I will meet them and hold talks with them," he said.
In another development, Janardhana Reddy at a separate press conference here announced that they would perform the foundation stone laying ceremony tomorrow in Bellary for constructing 50,000 houses at a cost of Rs 500 crore.
He said they would also build houses in Gadag and Raichur districts.
Resources for the project would be raised through donations from mines owners and other donors, he said.

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