Differences crop up in rebel camp

Differences crop up in rebel camp

Yeddyurappa as CM in the interest of the party, Shettar tells Reddy brothers

Jagdish Shettar: Cold feet or change of heart?

Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker Jagdish Shettar, who was the candidate of the dissident group for chief ministership, is understood to have opposed the demand of the rebel camp led by the Reddy brothers -Janardhana and Karunakara - for a leadership change.

Shettar, top sources in the BJP here told Deccan Herald, informed the Reddy brothers, when they met him at his Bangalore residence on Saturday, that it was better if the crisis was settled amicably with B S Yeddyurappa continuing as chief minister. He told the Reddys that the central leadership has ruled out any change of guard and it was in the interest of the party.

However, Shettar himself has a demand which was conveyed to the CM on Saturday. That includes the dropping of five ministers: Basavaraj Bommai, Murugesh Nirani, C M Udasi, Lakshman Savadi and Shobha Karandlaje. Of these, the rebel Reddys earlier demanded dropping of four : Bommai, Nirani, Udasi and Shobha.

Party loyalists

The rebel group said Shettar was their choice for chief minister and added that he should publicly identify himself with them and submit his resignation as MLA like the other legislators in the rebel camp have done. Flatly refusing this, Shettar said he would resign only if the high command directed him to do so.

Claiming that he was having the support of 30 MLAs, Shettar is said to have told the Reddys that if these ministers were dropped, the MLAs will not go ahead with their resignations, which were faxed to Janardhana Reddy in Delhi two days ago. At the meeting, the Reddys claimed that they have the support of over 40 MLAs without the supporters of Shettar.

Four of the five ministers named by Shettar hail from the Bombay-Karnataka area and are known to have been propped up by Yeddyurappa to sideline Shettar, especially Bommai who was given the important portfolio of water resources.

Recently, the RSS was said to have impressed upon those MLAs who came from the Sangh to rally behind Yeddyurappa and not join the rebel camp. One of those who was contacted in this regard was Shettar.