Karnataka assembly meets amid rumblings in ruling BJP
The Karnataka legislature Wednesday began its winter session here amid uncertainty over the BJP government's survival in the wake of former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa quitting the party to lead his own outfit.
Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who is heading the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) third government in the state in over four years, however, exuded confidence that he would be in power till May next, when the assembly's term expires and elections are to be held.
But on the eve of the session, state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa said the ruling party was ready to dissolve the assembly if a significant number of legislators attend the launch of Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) Dec 9.
Yeddyurappa will take over as KJP president Dec 9 at a public meeting in Haveri, 150 km from here and 400 km north of Bangalore. Belgaum is about 500 km from Bangalore.
Ahead of the assembly session, Shettar told reporters in Belgaum: "I will complete the term. There should not be any doubt on this."
He said the ruling party was ready to face a no-confidence motion, which the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) were considering moving.
The BJP has 119 members, including the speaker, in the 225-member assembly. It has the support of one Independent. The Congress has 71 members, the JD-S 26, and there are six other Independents. One seat is vacant.
The BJP has warned ministers and party legislators of strict action if they attend the Dec 9 launch of Yeddyurappa's new party.
While Shettar and Eshwarappa said only a handful of BJP legislators might attend the rally, Yeddyurappa's supporters told reporters here Wednesday that at least 50 legislators, including several ministers, will take part.
The six-day assembly session is scheduled to end Dec 12.
Yeddyurappa has warned that if the BJP takes action against ministers and legislators who attend the Dec 9 rally, "this government will fall in 24 hours".
So far five assembly members, four council members and three of the BJP's 19 Lok Sabha members - including B.Y. Raghavendra, Yeddyurappa's son - have been openly assisting Yeddyurappa in the preparation for the Haveri rally.
The BJP has not taken action against them. Eshwarappa has been saying the party will wait till Dec 9 to see how many legislators attend the rally and then act.