Deadlock in K'taka BJP as rebels stay put in Goa



Bangalore: The crisis in Karnataka's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continued Friday as 11 rebel legislators refuse to budge from their defiant stand and stayed put at a resort in Goa even as beleaguered Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa claimed he would win the confidence vote Monday.

Claims and counter-claims about the crisis continued to be made by BJP and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leaders, adding to the confusion.

Though the faction-ridden BJP prevailed upon assembly Speaker K.G. Bapaiah to issue a show-cause notice to the dissident lawmakers for indulging in anti-party activities, Yeddyurappa remained confident of proving his majority to save the 29-month-old first BJP government in the southern state.

"I am hopeful of getting full support. I have prayed to goddess Chamundeshwari to help me in the development of the state without any impediment during the next three years," Yeddyurappa told reporters after praying at a temple to goddess Chamundeshwari at Mysore, about 150km from here, on the first day of the popular 10-day Dussehra fest.

Asserting that the clouds hovering over the political climate in the state have started clearing, the chief minister said he had prayed to the goddess to give wisdom to the rebels and make them return to the party fold.

Meanwhile, legislature secretary B.S. Patil told IANS that notices had been issued to the rebel legislators.

"The speaker served show-cause notice to the dissidents asking them to reply by 5 p.m. Oct 10 on the charge of indulging in anti-party activities, including withdrawing support to the government," he said.

The speaker issued the notice through the legislature secretariat after the ruling party petitioned him late Thursday to invoke the Anti-Defection Act, 1985 against the 14 rebels and five Independents who submitted a joint letter to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj Wednesday withdrawing support to the government.

The legislators include Excise Minister M.P. Renukacharya, Gopalakrishna Beluru, Anand Ansnotikar, Balachandra Jarkiholi, B.N. Sarvabhouma, Bharamgowda Kage, Y. Sampangi, G.N. Nanjundaswamy, M. V Nagaraju, Shivan Gowda Nayak and H.S. Shankaralinge Gowda.

Among the other charges against the rebels are joining hands with the JD-S and independents to reduce the government to minority and creating political instability in the state.

Contrary to media reports that Renukacharya would return to Bangalore with other dissidents Friday, there was no sign of them, much less any feedback on their next move.

In Panaji, BJP leader Manohar Parrikar, the party's chief interlocutor for the Karnataka crisis who has been holding discussions with dissident legislators camping at a Goa resort, has said the dispute would be resolved by Saturday.

Addressing reporters outside a five-star resort, where the 14 dissidents are staying, Parikkar also accused JD-S leader and former Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of horse-trading.

"It's a dispute within the party and it will be resolved by tomorrow," he claimed.

Even as the mining magnate and state Infrastructure Minister G. Janardhan Reddy, who rushed to Goa late Thursday to win over the rebels, continued to stay back with them in the resort, Kumaraswamy returned to Bangalore after meeting the rebels, including some independents who were sacked from the ministry for expressing lack of faith in Yeddyurappa's leadership.

"All the rebel legislators are united in their stand and cause. They will take a collective decision as they are not under pressure either from our party or the BJP," Kumaraswamy told reporters in Goa before leaving for Bangalore.

Denying that he had gone to Goa to indulge in horse-trading and persuade the rebels to vote against the confidence motion, he said their (rebels') decision would be known Monday in the assembly.

"Wait for another three days ... up to Oct 11. You will know their decision. I came here to take full rest. Having done it, I am going back. The rebels will take their own decisions," said Kumaraswamy, who is the working president of the JD-S.

In a related development, party's senior leader and Rajya Sabha member from the state M. Venkaiah Naidu lashed out at the JD-S for precipitating the political crisis in the state by luring the party's legislators to revolt against the leadership.

"Former state chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and his brother and former minister H.D. Revanna are 'villains' behind the political drama being enacted in the state. They are mistaken to dream about coming back to power through the back door after bringing down our government," Naidu told reporters after brain-storming sessions with ministers and other legislators in the city.

Meanwhile, all the 73 Congress legislators in Karnataka were brought to a resort in Maharashtra's Lonavala town Friday to prevent poaching by the BJP.

IANS