Dissidents dig their heels in

Yeddyurappa ready to sacrifice Shobha


In the course of several meetings throughout Thursday, the chief minister is also understood to have conceded to the dissidents’ demand for removing his Principal Secretary V P Baligar and inducting State Assembly Speaker Jagadish Shettar into the Cabinet.

Thursday’s much-awaited breakfast meeting between Yeddyurappa and the rebel chiefs—the Reddy brothers—was doomed to be a non-starter with the Bellary MLAs refusing to sit across the table to thrash out a workable formula.
Consequently, the impasse continued as the rebels, led by Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy, bargained hard. The central leadership on its part grappled with various ways and means to find a solution to the imbroglio.
There was a glimmer of hope that the resolution to the crisis was in sight during the day, but by evening, it was a familiar story of deadlock continuing. Yeddyurappa, who was all smiles during the day, looked grim by evening, after a meeting with party leader L K Advani.

The chief minister felt relieved when BJP president Rajnath Singh made it clear there will be no change in leadership in the State, the principal demand of the dissident Reddy brothers.

Apart from demanding the removal of Karandlaje and Baligar, the rebel group demanded four other ministers, including  Basavaraj Bommai, Murugesh Nirani and C M Udasi, be dropped. The chief minister opposed this demand, saying these ministers were doing good work and dropping them would send the wrong signal to the people at large. He later said if they were to be dropped, then some ministers supporting  the Reddy camp should also be dropped. Janardhana Reddy did not agree to this.  
The sources also said that the chief minister demanded that since Shobha would be dropped, she should be made State BJP president, a proposal strongly opposed by the rebels.

At one stage, the leaders reportedly gave an ultimatum to Janardhana Reddy to either accept the chief minister’s offer to drop Shobha or face disciplinary action. He told the leaders that he would consult his band of MLAs before informing the high command in two days.

The rebels also demanded the formation of a coordination committee with Ananth Kumar as its chairman. Yeddyurappa opposed this demand.  
In the meetings, the chief minister said he wanted the Speaker to continue in his post because the Hubli leader would be able to handle the House better than anybody else. However, after the recent byelections, with the BJP getting majority, he wanted Shettar to become Minister. For a variety of reasons, this could not materialise.

Around 4 pm on Thursday, the chief minister was hopeful that the crisis would be resolved in “two hours,” even as BJP president Rajnath Singh and senior leader M Venkaiah Naidu said it may take two to three days.
There was also talk of the chief minister and Reddy holding a joint press meet in the evening. However, after meeting Advani around 6:30 pm, State BJP chief Sadananda Gowda said Yeddyurappa and Reddy would meet on Friday where “minor issues” would be resolved. But, Reddy, after a meeting with Venkaiah Naidu, dismissed reports of a meeting with the chief minister. “I am not going to meet the chief minister," he told reporters.

41 MLAs tender resignation
According to a DHNS report from Bangalore, 41 MLAs, owing their allegiance to G Janardhana Reddy and who are staying in a hotel in Hyderabad, faxed their resignation letters to their leader on Thursday night.

The chief minister said: “I am trying my level best to meet the Reddy brothers even today.” He ruled out any change in leadership and added: “In the interest of the state, I am ready to discuss (the issues) with anybody and solve the problem. Whatever decision the national leadership is going to take, that is going to be the final decision”.

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