Beyond-midnight meet, rebels anxiety convinced Shah

Senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), B.S. Yediyurappa (C), flashes the victory sign to his supporters and party workers prior to his swearing for the fourth time as the Karnataka Chief Minister. (AFP Photo)

It was well past midnight when a BJP delegation from Karnataka managed to find an audience with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. It was during those odd hours that a deal was clinched: B S Yediyurappa will form the government. 

The delegation, led by former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, met Shah, who is also the BJP national president, at 1.30 am on Friday. The leaders parleyed with the aim of convincing Shah on how and why the BJP was poised to form the government. 

The meeting, according to a BJP leader, was held in the midst of legal experts who discussed various scenarios. But the clincher was Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar’s decision on Thursday to disqualify three rebels. “That gave us an orientation on what lay ahead,” the leader said. 

The BJP top brass, who was earlier dithering to give its nod to the state unit to form an alternative government, relented but not before rebel MLAs mounted pressure.

The rebels, who have been staying in Mumbai for the past three weeks, are learnt to have contacted the BJP, requesting them to take a quick decision. The rebels are learnt to have expressed their restlessness. 

While reassuring the saffron party that they would never go back to Congress or the JD(S), the rebels are understood to have said the coalition was trying to woo them back by suggesting that senior Congressmen Mallikarjun Kharge or Ramalinga Reddy would be made chief minister. 

The BJP delegation flagged the anxiety of the rebels during their meeting with Shah, reiterating the urgency in forming the government. 

Shah is said to have told Yediyurappa that he should form the government and prove the majority by treading cautiously at each step. 

MP Shobha Karandlaje, considered a Yediyurappa loyalist, however, refuted suggestions that the BJP central leadership wanted to adopt a more cautious approach and wait for a few more days.

“Yediyurappa and the central leadership are on the same page,” she said.

BJP’s national media in-charge Anil Baluni said the new dispensation will be development-oriented and stable, unlike the previous “unholy alliance” of the Congress and the JD(S).

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