Karnataka CM faces fresh bout of dissidence



Bangalore: Troubles grew for Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa with a group of about 20 MLAs including ministers raising a banner of revolt Tuesday in a fresh bout of dissidence, even as opposition Congress and JD(S) tried to corner him over a series of land scam allegations.

The dissident activity by a section of the ruling BJP came on a day when Governor H R Bhardwaj submitted a report to President Pratibha Patil on alleged irregularities in payment of compensation to land owners by Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board(KIADB).

"I have taken note of the various controversies on the KIADB scam. I have informed the Central government about it and submitted a report to President Pratibha Patil, a copy of which has also gone to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh," Bhardwaj told reporters here.

An emergency Cabinet meeting is also being held tomorrow to take stoack of the situation.

Led by Excise Minister M P Renukacharya, the dissident group comprises disgruntled legislators who either failed to get ministerial berths or are unhappy with the recent Cabinet recast or those eyeing key posts in boards and corporations.

Yeddyurappa was closeted with BJP's state unit president K S Eshwarappa, ministers loyal to him and also met senior RSS functionaries and discussed steps to deal with the situation.

The dissidents, who are set to be away in Tamil Nadu, had switched-off their cell phones and remained incommunicado, as desperate attempts were made to reach out to them.

Eshwarappa chose to put up a brave front, brushing aside suggestions of dissident activities. "There is no dissidence, it's only rumour."

He, however, admitted that some legislators who did not get ministerial berths are dissatisfied and discussions would be held with them. The government was not facing instability, Eshwarappa said.

The fresh dissident activity came even as the BJP's first government in south faced land scam allegations in the recent days as a spirited opposition -- the Congress and the JDS -- tried to corner Yeddyurappa and Minister for Information Technology, Biotechnology and Housing Katta Subramanya Naidu.

Eshwarappa said an emergency cabinet meeting would be held at 10 am tomorrow.

He also ruled out any move now against Naidu, facing allegations relating to denotifying of land of KIADB when he was Industries Minister, saying action would be taken only if charges were proved by court and he was named by Lokayukta.

Meanwhile, leaders of the JDS, under the leadership of state unit president and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, held a meeting in the backdrop of the dissident activity in the BJP.

Talking to reporters separately, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and Congress leader Siddaramaiah called Yeddyurappa a "liar" and "irresponsible" and likened his Cabinet to "Ali Baba and 40 thieves", in the context of land scam allegations against the government.

"If the chief minister has an iota of respect, he should quit immediately," Siddaramaiah said.

PTI