Karnataka govt totters, told to prove majority

Written by Political Bureau | Bangalore | Updated: Oct 7 2010, 07:40am hrs
Uncertainty gripped Karnataka again after a series of political developments on Wednesday left the BS Yeddyurappa-led BJP government tottering. Nineteen MLAs supporting the government conveyed lack of confidence in the chief minister and Governor HR Bhardwaj promptly asked Yeddyurappa to prove his majority on the floor of the House before 5 pm on October 12.

The rebel MLAs, including 14 core BJP members and five independents, have reduced the BJP numbers, at least on paper, from 122 to 103 in a 224-member House where 113 constitutes a simple majority. The rebels are now rallying behind JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy.

The BJP and Yeddyurappa have started moves to win back numbers by assuaging the rebels with the offer of ministerial posts to as many as eight of them. The BJP has also threatened the rebels with action under the anti-defection law.

Yeddyurappa on Wednesday sacked four independent MLAs from the rebel group who were ministers and announced that at least three more senior ministers would step aside to allow the entry of rebels into the government and rescue it from the present crisis.

The BJP has deputed mining baron and Tourism minister G Janardhan Reddy to win back the rebels.

The Congress has remained silent despite accusations by Yeddyurappa that the party was being a behind-the-scenes player. Kumaraswamy who has emerged as the ringleader of the political circus called an understanding with the Congress still premature and a lot now depends on what happens on October 12.

JD(S) sources said they had moved a petition to get the BJP Speaker removed to allow a Congress leader to be pro tem Speaker as an effort to assure rebel MLAs of protection against the anti-defection law.

The swift developments today came on the back of several days of allegations of corruption against the Yeddyurappa government -- the rebels initially raised the demand for dropping of corrupt ministers from the government.

BJP MLAs Shankarlinge Gowda and Anand Asnotikar and independent MLA minister P M Narendraswamy visited Raj Bhavan in the company of JD(S) leaders, including Kumaraswamy, to submit a letter signed by 19 MLAs most of them currently holed up in a resort outside the stateexpressing lack of confidence in the leadership of Yeddyurappa.

Even as the letter was submitted, Yeddyurappa moved to recommend the removal of four independents from the ministryP M Narendraswamy, Shivaraj Tangadagi, D Sudhakar and Venkatramanappa.