BJP MLAs' lunch gives Karnataka CM BSY food for thought

BJP MLAs' lunch gives Karnataka CM BSY food for thought

Umesh Katti

Political circles in Karnataka were agog with talk of dissidence within the saffron party after a dozen BJP legislators met at senior leader Umesh Katti's residence to savour north Karnataka's staple 'rotti oota' on Thursday.

The lunch meeting came at a time when the Yediyurappa administration, busy battling the Covid-19 pandemic, is headed towards completing its first year in office.

Katti, an eight-time MLA, has been sulking for not being made a minister. There are also calls for his brother Ramesh Katti to be picked for the Rajya Sabha seat from Karnataka that falls vacant this year.

However, Katti on Friday dismissed talk of being disgruntled, or that attempts were being made to unseat the aging Yediyurappa. "We're responsible MLAs. I believe such politics is not right during the pandemic," Katti said, denying any rebellion. He said this was the second lunch he hosted in a span of two weeks. 

Senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, too, attended the lunch. Katti, Yatnal and former minister Murugesh Nirani are ministerial aspirants and unhappy with Yediyurappa.

Several other MLAs are also said to be disgruntled that works related to their constituencies were not happening. 

On Friday, Yediyurappa kept himself busy with back-to-back meetings. His only reaction was a clarification: “It is being said that I have convened an emergency meeting with some party MLAs. This is far from the truth. I haven’t convened any meeting.”

Yatnal, who has been vocal about his dissatisfaction with the government, said he cannot discuss some issues publicly. “Are we disgruntled or not is something we'll discuss within the party,” the former Union minister told reporters, adding that he will not be part of anything to "topple or trouble" the government.

"It had been a long time since we got together for rotti oota, and since hotels are closed, we went to Katti’s house where it was arranged."

But Yatnal's own equation with Yediyurappa seems to have deteriorated. “Yediyurappa had called me for a meeting Saturday last, but I didn’t go,” he said. “I will never go to the CM again. Why should I, when my constituency works won’t get done? He’s busy with corona, so I let him be.”

He also vowed that he will not be a minister in the Yediyurappa Cabinet. "I'm not so incapable to beg for it."

"Our leader is PM Modi, Amit Shah and J P Nadda. Yediyurappa is our CM," Yatnal said, evading questions on who from the state BJP he considered as their leader.

According to MLA G H Thippareddy, MLAs being dissatisfied had been a topic of discussion even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. "I am also unhappy about the state of affairs in the government," he said.


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