10 Ministers and 50 legislators likely to attend breakfast meeting
The stage is set for the formal launch of a new regional political outfit in the State — Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) — on Sunday. A sea change in Karnataka politics is likely, unlike in the late 1970s and thereafter in the 1990s when splinter groups in the Congress formed the Congress (Urs), the Karnataka Kranti Ranga and the Karnataka Congress Party, and another of the Janata Dal resulted in the formation of the Lok Shakti only to merge with the parent party at a later date.
The KJP, given the present indications, is expected to cause a vertical split in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and consequently, will have the backing of a large number of incumbent legislators and Members of Parliament. It will also be a political formation which will keep away from the BJP ideology and at the present juncture, the second regional party in the State after the Janata Dal (Secular), although the latter in the initial years had its presence in several States, including Kerala, New Delhi and Maharashtra.
Sources in the KJP told The Hindu that a large gathering is expected to attend the formal launch of the party at Haveri. Although the launch programme is slated to commence around noon on Sunday, people are expected to be arriving at Haveri from Saturday. Arrangements are being made for their food and stay. A large part of the gathering is expected to be from the districts of Chikmagalur, Shimoga, Haveri, Hubli-Dharwad, Gadag, Davangere, Tumkur and Bellary.
The former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who has quit the BJP to formally take charge as KJP president, is in Belgaum holding discussions with the legislators and Ministers associated with him.
All these Ministers and legislators, irrespective of the legislature session, will arrive in Haveri and participate in a pre-launch breakfast and subsequently be part of the gathering. Very few of them are expected to share the dais with Mr. Yeddyurappa, apparently to ward off disciplinary action from the BJP.
A senior Minister who is one of those involved in organising the Haveri convention said that the Ministers and legislators would not be sharing the dais with Mr. Yeddyurappa.
Their very presence at Haveri on that day would convey that they were with the KJP and it could be surmised as a show of strength. “The estimation is that around 10 Ministers and nearly 50 legislators are likely to attend a breakfast meet prior to the main event,” he said.
Mr. Yeddyurappa said that the KJP would be contesting all seats (224 constituencies) in the next Assembly elections and that the party had finalised a list of 100 candidates.
“I will prove that the KJP is a party with a difference,” he said. The Haveri programme is expected to provide a platform for Mr. Yeddyurappa to lash out at the BJP, particularly some of its leaders with whom he has had a running battle for long.
Among those expected to be present at the KJP convention are actors Pooja Gandhi and Rakshita, former legislators Jabbar Khan Honnali, Fr. Jacob, H. Srinivasa Shetty, U.R. Sabhapathy, K.H. Srinivasa, Michael Fernandes, M. Raghupathy, K. Kushala and Vishwanath.