On the eve of the former Karnataka Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa’s rally at Haveri on Sunday, where he will take charge as president of the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP), the BJP cracked the whip on two members of his camp, dismissing Cooperation Minister B.J. Puttaswamy from the Cabinet and suspending Tumkur MP G.S. Basavaraju from the party.

The party issued a stern warning to other legislators, MPs and Ministers that they would face a similar action if they either attended the rally or associated themselves with the KJP.

BJP State president K.S. Eshwarappa made it clear to the Yeddyurappa camp members that legislators and MPs would have to resign from the Assembly or Parliament if they wanted to attend the rally or have any association with the KJP.

The decision was taken after a marathon meeting between the BJP’s State core committee — comprising top leaders, including Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Mr. Eshwarappa — and central party leaders in Delhi. The meeting is learnt to have decided not to compromise on discipline and to be ready to “sacrifice” the government if a sizeable number of MLAs attended the rally. “We are firm in our decision to either suspend or expel such MLAs from the party, even if it leads to the collapse of the government,” sources in the party said.

Breakfast meeting

Meanwhile, to prevent any disciplinary action against them, the Yeddyurappa camp is planning to have just a breakfast meeting at Haveri instead of attending the rally. But the BJP is learnt to have decided to keep a watch on the meeting and will act if the meeting turns out to be a KJP forum or a venue to target the party organisation.

Reacting sharply to the BJP’s action, Mr. Yeddyurappa challenged the party to dissolve the Assembly and face fresh elections.

With the BJP taking such a stern stand, political circles are curious about the impact of Sunday’s rally on the continuation of the government.

In the Assembly, which now has 223 members (two seats are vacant), the BJP has a strength of 120 members, including the Speaker, a nominated member and an Independent who has been inducted into the Ministry. Hence, it will spell trouble for the government if more than eight members associate themselves with the KJP.

Interestingly, the party chose to act against only two members, though nine legislators, including five MLAs, attended a KJP public meeting held by Mr. Yeddyurappa when he quit the BJP and the Assembly on November 30.

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