Bangalore: Faced with simmering discontent against his leadership, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa on Thursday convened a meeting with ministers seeking to assert himself even as a team of dissidents left for New Delhi gunning for him.
Twentyone of the total 27 ministers attended the "conclave" held at Chief Minister`s home-office "Krishna" as Yeddyurappa appeared to send a strong message and demonstrate his "strength".
The meeting was called to discuss the programmes announced in the state Budget and issues related to it but its timing didn`t go unnoticed as the Chief Minister`s camp and the dissidents seem to be engaged in brinkmanship.
A team of dissidents, led by BJP state president KS Eshwarappa, left for Delhi today to "complain" to the party`s central leadership against Yeddyurappa. He was accompanied by former minister Aravind Limbavali and state party spokesman CT Ravi.
According to BJP sources, party national General Secretary HN Ananth Kumar has identified with the dissident camp. Another Chief Minister detractor and Rural Development and Panchayatraj Minister Jagadish Shettar is already in Delhi.
A section of ministers and MLAs has complained in private about insufficient development activities in their constituencies and the Chief Minister`s "dictatorial
attitude". Eshwarappa nurses the grouse that Yeddyurappa takes "unilateral decisions" without taking party into confidence.
Conspicuous by their absence at the meeting are Tourism and Infrastructure Development Minister G Janardhana Reddy and Health and Family Welfare Minister B Sreeramulu, who have also thrown in their lot with the dissidents.
"There are some problems in the state. Ministers and MLAs have communicated their problems to me. I am going to Delhi to convey their grievances to the high command on these issues", Eshwarappa told reporters before his departure at the airport.
"The party is important than any individual. We will brief the high command on the problems faced by legislators", Ravi said.
Karnataka`s Representative in New Delhi, V Dhananjaya Kumar, disapproved Eshwrappa-led delegation`s visit to Delhi, saying there was no need for it and they should have discussed with the Chief Minister whatever grievances they have.
Speaking on the meeting convened by Yeddyurappa, Law and Parliamentary affairs Minister S Suresh Kumar said it`s an exclusive one with the Chief Minister and only issues pertaining to announcements and development were discussed. There were no bureaucrats.
Kumar sought to stress that 21 ministers attended the meeting, apparently indicating that the dissidents don`t enjoy considerable support. The absentee ministers had sought prior permission from the Chief Minister, he said.
Kumar said two teams- one led by Yeddyurappa and another by Chief Secretary SV Ranganath- would hold review meetings starting next week in eight districts to take stock of development work announced in last year`s budget and those to
be taken up this year.