Bangalore: The BJP government in Karnataka on Wednesday plunged into crisis being reduced to a minority after 19 MLAs withdrew support, prompting Governor HR Bhardwaj to ask Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa to prove his majority in the Assembly before October 12.
The first-ever saffron Government in the South was rocked by the action of 19 MLAs--14 from BJP and five Independents--who revolted against Yeddyurappa`s leadership dissatisfied with the recent cabinet expansion and gave a letter to the Governor withdrawing support to him.
The rebel MLAs included seven ministers of whom four were Independents who were sacked earlier in the day.
Hours after the revolt, Yeddurappa had a meeting with Bharadwaj and told him he was ready to face the trial of strength on October 11, one day ahead of the deadline set by the Governor for the 29-month-old government.
"I have requested the Governor to convene the special session on October 11 to face the trial of strength", he told the media after meeting Bhardwaj at Raj Bhavan.
Yeddyurappa expressed confidence of proving the majority enjoyed by his government.
In the 224-member Assembly, BJP and Independents together had a strength of 123 and with today`s developments it has been reduced to 104 reducing the ruling party to a minority. BJP requires the support of 113 members to prove its majority. BJP earlier had 117 MLAs including the Speaker, followed by Congress 73, JDS 28 and independents six.
Acting quickly to save his government, Yeddyurappa dangled the carrot of ministry reshuffle with immediate effect to appease the rebels and assured another exercise next year to induct new faces.
In a fire-fighting exercise, he also rushed mining magnate and Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy to pacify the agitated MLAs, who are camping near Chennai. Interestingly, Reddy had led the dissident campaign against Yeddyurappa not long ago.
Emerging from the about two-and-half hours discussions with the rebel MLAs at the airport here, Reddy told reporters there was no threat to the government and he would convey the dissidents` demands to party high command. The rebels later left for Kochi.
Reddy also said the dissidents have sought two more days time to respond to the offers made to them by Yeddyurappa to change their decision.
The dissident MLAs said Yeddyurappa`s "dictatorial" attitude and their "utter neglect" were responsible for their decision.
Minister for Fisheries Anand Asnotikar and Minister for Animal Husbandry P M Narendra Swamy, who was among those sacked, deputed by the rebels, called on Bhardwaj and submitted the list of the MLAs who withdrew support.
With the government reduced to a minority, Bhardwaj directed Yeddyurappa to prove his majority on the floor of the House on or before October 12 by 5 pm.
Earlier, anticipating trouble Yeddyurappa recommended to the Governor to dismiss four ministers -- Shivaraj Tangadagi, D Sudhakar, P M Narendra Swamy and Venkataramanappa from the ministry, which was accepted by Bhardwaj. These four elected as independents had lent their support to Yeddyurappa after the BJP fell short of majority after the assembly elections.
Apart from the four axed ministers, other ministers who joined the rebels are, M P Renukacharya, now leading the dissident group, Asnotikar and Balachandra Jarkiholi.