Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Sunday ruled out dissolving the State Assembly even as uncertainty loomed over the future of his government after 13 BJP MLAs openly backed former party strongman B S Yeddyurappa.
“I still command the support of 120 MLAs. There is no question of dissolving the Assembly,” Mr Shettar told reporters at Hubli rejecting the Opposition’s demand for his resignation after more than a dozen BJP MLAs shared the dais with Mr Yeddyurappa at the launch of his Karnataka Janata Party at Haveri.
Seeking to downplay the open defiance by 13 MLAs who participated in the KJP-launch rally, Mr Shettar said “only 10-12 MLAs attended (the event).”
At Shimoga, Deputy Chief Minister and State unit BJP president K S Eswarappa dared Mr Yeddyurappa to topple the Shettar government.
Slamming Mr Yeddyurappa, whom he described as a “paper tiger”, he asked, “where are the 60 MLAs?”
Mr Eswarappa was referring to the Lingayat strongman’s claim that at least 60 legislators supported him.
He also said there was no question of dissolving the Assembly and challenged the Congress, JDS and KJP to bring down the State government.
Mr Eswarappa said top BJP leaders would meet at Belgaum on December 12 to debate on various issues including the act of indiscipline by some of the party legislators and action to be taken against them.
In the 224-member Karnataka Assembly, BJP has a strength of 118, Congress 71, JDS 26, Independents seven and two vacancies.