Karnataka government totters as ministers back Yeddyurappa
The BJP ministry in Karnataka teetered on the edge as six ministers and over a dozen legislators openly backed former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
Ministers C.M. Udasi (public works), Shobha Karandlaje (power), Basavaraj Bommai (water resources), Murugesh Nirani (industries), M.P. Renukacharya (excise) and Revu Naik Belamagi (animal husbandry) attended a breakfast meeting hosted by Yeddyurappa loyalists ahead of a public function here to formally launch the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP).
Yeddyurappa was present at the breakfast.
Asked about reports that Karandlaje, Bommai and Nirani had offered to quit the ministry, Yeddyurappa told reporters after the breakfast meeting that he had asked all ministers supporting him not to resign.
He asserted that there was no threat to the ministry headed by Jagadish Shettar if the BJP accepts that it is running a coalition government with his (Yeddyurappa's) supporters in Karnataka.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had earlier warned legislators that even attending the breakfast meeting or tea parties hosted by Yeddyurappa loyalists at Haveri Sunday would attract disciplinary action.
The 69-year-old Yeddyurappa will take over as KJP president at the rally in this north Karnataka town, about 350 km from Bangalore.
The defiance by these ministers and legislators came a day after Infrastructure Minister Sunil Valyapure quit the Shettar cabinet, hours after the BJP sacked Cooperation Minister B.J. Puttaswamy and suspended Lok Sabha member G.S. Basavaraj from the party for backing Yeddyurappa.
Shettar, however, remained unfazed. He told reporters in Bangalore that his government had a majority. He also said he had not got the resignation of Valyapure.
The BJP has 118 members in the 225-member assembly and 44 in the 75-member legislative council.
The Shettar cabinet, including the chief minister, is 34-member strong. With the sacking of Puttaswamy, there is one vacancy in the cabinet.