They include 10 Ministers; ‘no threat to government’
At a meeting of his supporters here on Tuesday that saw the participation of 42 MLAs, Bharatiya Janata Party rebel leader B.S. Yeddyurappa remained firm in his decision to quit the party and made it clear that there was no change in his decision to quit the Assembly seat to join the new political outfit on December 10.
As many as 10 Ministers, nine MPs and 13 MLCs attended the nearly four-hour meeting in which Mr. Yeddyurappa explained to them the advantages of joining his proposed political outfit.
Predicting a fractured verdict in the next Assembly polls, he is learnt to have told them that his outfit would have the flexibility of joining hands with any of the political party to form the government after the polls unlike the BJP that has ideological constraints in forging an alliance. This would ensure ministerial berths to all prominent leaders, he reportedly told them.
According to sources, he first held a meeting with all the participants and then had one-to-one interactions with MLAs.
But sensing that his followers were not comfortable with his suggestion that they should identify themselves with his new party while being in the government, Mr. Yeddyurappa relaxed the norm and said that the Ministers would continue in the Jagadish Shettar Ministry till the end of its term. “They will join me only after the term of the government ends,” he told reporters after the meeting.
It appeared that there was no clarity on the contentious issue of whether the MLAs and Ministers should attend the rally to be organised by him to mark his joining of the Karnataka Janata Paksha in Haveri on December 10. Water Resources Minister and the camp’s prominent leader Basavaraj Bommai told reporters after the meeting that those who attended the meeting had authorised Mr. Yeddyurappa to take an appropriate decision regarding their political future.
Interestingly, there was no clarity on the exact number of MLAs who attended Tuesday’s meeting as there was variation in the numbers quoted by different leaders, including Mr. Yeddyurappa. Mr. Yeddyurappa said that 60 MLAs attended the meeting.
Even as Mr. Yeddyurappa said that all those who attended the meeting stood by his decision to form a new party, an MLA, who was at the meeting, told reporters on a condition of anonymity that he was in no mood to join the new party. “I have come here as he (Mr. Yeddyurappa) invited me for the meeting. But, it does not mean that all of us are committed to joining the new party,” he said.