Karnataka heading for fresh political crisis? Meeting of BJP MLAs triggers speculation, CM Yediyurappa rejects reports

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Updated: May 29, 2020 5:00 PM

The MLAs from North Karnataka met at the residence of former MP Ramesh Katti at Bellad Bagewadi in Belagavi district on Thursday evening in the backdrop of coming elections to four Rajya Sabha seats from the state.

BS Yediyurappa has dismissed reports that he has convened an emergency meeting of a section of BJP MLAs .

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday dismissed reports that he has convened an emergency meeting of a section of BJP MLAs after a group of party legislators met in Belagavi, fuelling speculations about fresh discontentment in the ruling camp.

The MLAs from North Karnataka met at the residence of former MP Ramesh Katti at Bellad Bagewadi in Belagavi district on Thursday evening in the backdrop of coming elections to four Rajya Sabha seats from the state, according to party sources. The gathering is seen as a move to drum up support for Ramesh Katti, brother of senior MLA Umesh Katti who was among the ministerial aspirants, in getting one of the four seats.

It led to speculations about fresh bout of discontent among a section of ruling party MLAs, who missed out on ministerial berths when Yediyurappa came back to power in June last year after the collapse of JDS-Congress coalition government. The meeting also triggered reports in a section of media that the Chief Minister would hold a meeting with a few legislators, apparently to placate them, a claim rejected by Yediyurappa.

“I have noticed reports being aired by some news channels that I have convened an emergency meeting with a few legislators. It is far from truth. I would like to clarify that I have not convened any such meeting,” he tweeted on Friday.

Confirming that the meeting took place at his residence, Ramesh Katti, however, sought to dismiss any link to the Rajya Sabha polls and said only a feast was organised. Talking to reporters here, he, however, recalled that his brother Umesh Katti, a senior BJP MLA from Hukkeri, was not given a ministerial position in the Yediyurappa government.

According to him, Yediyurappa had assured Umesh Katti that he (Ramesh Katti) would be made a Rajya Sabha member. “Recently my brother met the Chief Minister and reminded him about it (Rajya Sabha seat) and he too assured him that he will do it,” Katti said.

Umesh Katti maintained no politics was discussed at the meeting. “We had not met for quite long time so the feast was an occasion for get-together.. We did not discuss politics or anything related to discontentment or rebellion. I am responsible MLA. I know that this is not appropriate to discuss such things during this time.”

Vijayapura BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, among those who attended the meeting, expressed his dissatisfaction with Yediyurappa, saying some works had not been completed despite the legislators taking them up with the chief minister, but did not elaborate on the works.

The MLAs who attended the meeting shared their “joy and pain”. “Being MLAs we ask the Chief Minister to get some works done but how many times can we ask,” he told reporters here. When asked whether Yediyurappa should continue as the Chief Minister, Patil said he would not talk about it in the media.

“I will tell only our senior party leaders. I will tell them whatever is in the best interest of the state in clear terms. We will abide by our high command… If they say the Chief Minister should continue let it be so and if they want to change the leadership, we will abide by it,” he added.

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