<p>Stepping up pressure over their demand for a change in the leadership in Karnataka, seven ministers on Friday met former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and discussed the political situation amid reports that they planned to quit the BJP ministry.
The ministers met at the residence of Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar whom Yeddyurappa has been propping up as a potential successor to his loyalist-turned-foe D V Sadananda Gowda, and held parleys for over an hour, party sources said.
They later met Yeddyurappa who has been sulking since being forced to quit last year in the wake of the Lokayukta report on illegal mining indicting him and after being asked by the party to come clean in the corruption cases for his reinstatement.
The sources said eight ministers loyal to the dissident leader have been contemplating to resign from the ministry, seen as a pressure tactic to force the party central leadership to meet their demand. The rebels’ move comes a day after the BJP leadership sought to buy more time to resolve the Karnataka crisis and asked Gowda to cancel his proposed visit to Delhi.
Gowda planned to meet the top pleaders amidst persisting speculation over change of leadership of Gowda. Sources said, the dissidents were in no mood to accept the high command decision of “wait for some more time”. The ministers who took part in the meeting at Shettar’s residence were C M Udasi, Basavaraj Bommai, M P Renukacharya, Umesh Katti and Murugesh Nirani.
A senior minister in the rebel camp said the party leadership should announce its decision on whether it was ready for the leadership change or not. Meanwhile, B P Harish, MLA, said he was dismayed at the happenings in the party, adding he was thinking about resigning his assembly membership.
Harish claimed that several legislators were in favour of resigning their assembly membership. BJP Central leadership yesterday advised Gowda and his followers not to visit Delhi on the Karnataka crisis and also cancelled the visit by party General Secretary Dharmendra Pradhan.
Cong seeks fresh mandate
Meanwhile, Opposition Congress on Friday accused the BJP government in Karnataka of “betraying” people, failing on all fronts and demanded that the Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda seek fresh mandate. “The BJP government has betrayed people by reneging on all the promises it made during the 2008 assembly elections. The government failed on all sectors. The Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda should dissolve the state assembly and go for fresh polls,” KPCC President G Parameshwara urged at a press conference here.
A day after Gowda presented the performance card of the four-year-old BJP government, Parameshwara rebutted the claims of development by it. The BJP in its poll manifesto promised its commitment for a “bountiful Karnataka”, but totally neglected development and pushed the state into a debt trap.
The total debt of Karnataka which was about 54,000 crore four years ago has shot up to Rs 1.02 lakh crore now, Parameshwara charged. The BJP government could not spend allocations made for planned projects despite the revenues growing in the state and wanted to know “where did this money go? The BJP promised to build 1.5 million Ashraya houses, but could not construct even one, he claimed and said 836,000 houses that were built in Karnataka was from funds released by the UPA govenment under the Central scheme. The BJP government failed to create irrigation potential and attract investments, he said. The first edition of Global Investors Meet (GIM) has yielded Rs 5,369 crore invesment from 38 companies as against MoUs signed for Rs 4.5 lakh crore, he said.
The KPCC constituted committee led by its leader V R Sudharshan has submitted its report on cross voting by its MLAs during the June 11 election to the legislative council and it would be sent to Congress President Sonia Gandhi for inititing action, he said. Congress candidate Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi lost the poll.