Bangalore: Adopting a carrot and stick policy,
the ruling BJP on Thursday night appeared to have won over 19 rebel MLAs
whose revolt reduced its government in Karnataka to a minority
with the minister spearheading the dissident campaign saying
embattled Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is their leader.
Amid efforts to reach out to rebels by offering some
ministerial berths and the BJP central leadership threatening
that notice will be slapped under anti-defection law,
dissident Excise Minister M P Renukacharya said the government
is stable ahead of next week`s trust vote.
"Yeddyurappa is our leader. Government is stable. There
is no threat to it. We are going back to Bangalore tomorrow,"
Renukacharya told Kannada TV channels from a Goa hotel where
he and around 14 dissidents are camping, a day after the BJP`s
first government in the South faced a threat.
The 29-month-old government plunged into crisis and was
reduced to minority yesterday after 14 BJP and five
Independent MLAs withdrew support to it prompting Governor H R
Bharadwaj to ask the chief minister to seek a trust vote by
October 12. The chief minister has said he will take the floor
test on October 11.
Both the chief minister and the BJP exuded confidence
that the government will win the trust vote.
"I hope by the evening of tomorrow all the MLAs who are
outside now will return back and join our fold. I am very
confident of winning the vote of confidence. I am 100 per cent
sure that my MLAs will support me," Yeddyurappa said shortly
after Renukacharya`s comments.
In New Delhi, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said,
"We would like to warn those MLAs who have given the letter to
the Governor (for withdrawal of support) that they had won
elections on BJP symbol and can lose their membership of the
assembly (under anti-defection law."
The developments during the day were marked by high
drama when around 15 rebels landed in Goa today after hopping
from one city to another since yesterday. Karnataka Home
Minister R Ashok also alleged that the Congress, which is part
of the ruling coalition in Goa, was forcibly keeping the rebel
MLAs in a resort with the help of local police.
Taking the fight to rebel camp, Yeddyurappa earlier in
the day removed Balachandra Jarkiholi and Anand Asnotikar from
the Cabinet. Four dissident ministers were removed yesterday.
At the same time, sources in ruling BJP said there were
prospects of some dissident MLAs being made ministers, a move
that could stem the threat to the government.
The BJP high command rushed senior leader M Venkaiah
Naidu to Bangalore today to defuse the crisis which showed
signs of wrecking the yesterday after 18 legislators withdrew
"We are confident of proving our majority", Naidu said,
as he accused the opposition Congress of coordinating with the
JD-S to destabilise the government.
There was some silver lining for the chief minister
earlier in the day when S K Bellubbi deserted the dissident
camp and swore his loyalty to the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister also appeared to take divine help to
save his government when he rushed to the famous
Rajarajeswara temple at Taliparamba near Kannur for a darshan.
He said problems with dissidents would be sorted out through
talks and was confident of passing the floor test.
Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy, along with senior
leader H N Anathkumar, who spearheaded in part the "Save
Yeddyurappa campaign" worked overtime to win over dissidents.
Significantly, Reddy had led the dissidents when the chief
minister faced the revolt last year.
Meanwhile, Yeddyurappa tonight said at Bangalore that
Renukacharya has informed him he and other disgruntled
legislators who are with him in Goa, would return to Bangalore
and extend support to the Government.
"Renukacharya (Excise Minister) spoke to me by telephone.
He and his friends (other dissident MLAs) are returning to
Bangalore tomorrow. That was expected," he told reporters.
The Chief Minister did not clarify if these MLAs included
six Ministers who have either been dropped or resigned.
According to sources in the dissident camp, 14 MLAs are
currently staying in a Goa hotel.
"I am 100 per cent confident we will prove our majority
on the floor of the House on October 11," the Chief Minister
Meanwhile, there was high drama in the Legislators` Home,
where there was reportedly a scuffle between dissident MLA H S
Shankarlinge Gowda and his son, who is believed to have tried
to persuade his father to back the Yeddyurappa government.
Sources said JDS leaders H D Revanna, Basavaraja Horatti
and others rushed to his room and insisted that Gowda be taken
to hospital for treatment.
The Minister for Energy, Shobha Karandlaje, who was in
the Legislators` Home, alleged: "What are the JDS leaders
doing here? They are trying to kidnap Shankarlinge Gowda in
the guise of taking him to hospital".