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SC restores BJP rebels' membership, Congress, JD-S seek Yeddyurappa's ouster

Saturday May 14, 2011 09:32:31 PM, IANS

New Delhi/Bangalore: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Saturday mounted pressure on its 11 rebel legislators to back beleaguered Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa as opposition Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) sought his ouster.

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley met some of the 11 rebels in New Delhi, a day after the Supreme Court restored their membership as also that of five Independent members. The court severely rapped Yeddyurappa and Speaker K G. Bopaiah over disqualifying them in October last year.

BJP's efforts to win over the rebels came on a day when Governor H.R. Bhardwaj met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Bhardwaj said it was a "courtesy call" and Karnataka developments were not discussed.

On Saturday, one of the BJP rebel lawmakers and former fisheries minister Anand Asnotikar said in New Delhi that the 11 legislators had not left the party and were only demanding a leadership change in Karnataka.

"We are against the leadership," he asserted. "We will consult our supporters and decide the next step."

However, BJP sources told IANS in Bangalore that the party's central leaders were confident of convincing the rebels not to insist on Yeddyurappa's immediate removal.

"Our central leaders have promised to solve the problem," they said.

Yeddyurappa, whose fate depends on the 11 rebels, also sent three ministers M.P. Renukacharya (excise), Govind Karjola (Kannada and culture) and Umesh Katti (agriculture) to New Delhi to woo the dissidents.

In Bangalore, the Congress and the JD-S insisted that restoration of the rebels' membership had reduced Yeddyurappa to a minority and he should quit immediately.

They also demanded Speaker Bopaiah's resignation in view of the severe strictures of the Supreme Court over his action of disqualifying the 16 lawmakers ahead of a confidence vote sought by Yeddyurappa Oct 11 last year.

In New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the BJP was running a "minority government with manufactured majority".

"Everything that the BJP is doing in Karnataka is absolutely rotten. Whether it involves the subversion of the constitution, whether it involves the communalization of Karnataka, and whether it involves the plunder of natural resources," Tiwari told reporters.

As demand for his resignation grew louder, Yeddyurappa waited for Bhardwaj's nod for his decision to convene assembly session May 16, ostensibly to pass the state budget.

However, the move is being opposed by the Congress and the JD-S which have urged the governor not to agree to it.

State Congress unit chief G. Parameshwara and leader of opposition in the assembly Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bangalore that Yeddyurppa had "no moral right" to call the assembly session in view of the apex court rap on him and the speaker over disqualification issue.

JD-S leader in the assembly H.D. Revanna alleged that BJP had begun "horse trading to win over the 11 party rebels", and hence the governor should not call the assembly session.

Political circles in Karnataka were abuzz that BJP had offered cabinet berths or chairmanship of state-run boards or corporation with cabinet-rank to the 11 rebels in return for their support to Yeddyurappa.

The BJP' strength in the 225-member house now is 109, including the speaker. It enjoys the support of one Independent. The Congress has 71 members and the JD-S 26. One seat is vacant.




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