Karnataka Assembly serves notice on 11 BJP legislators

The political crisis in Karnataka, arising out of 14 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs withdrawing support to the Yeddyurappa government, continued on Friday, with at least 10 of them sticking to their stand.

Sources in the government and the Janata Dal (Secular) indicated that the rebel legislators would return here only on Sunday, a day ahead of the confidence vote. The stalemate is thus expected to continue notwithstanding the BJP leadership's claims that the return of the legislators is imminent.

The JD(S) State president and former Chief Minister, H.D. Kumaraswamy, is in Goa, apparently to ensure that the rebels do not change their mind.

Minister for Tourism G. Janardhana Reddy and the former Goa Chief Minister, Manohar Parikkar, are in discussion with the legislators on behalf of the BJP.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Legislative Assembly, acting on the orders of Speaker K.G. Bopaiah, served notice on 11 BJP legislators, asking them to show cause before 5 p.m. on October 10 why action should not be initiated against them for violating the provisions of the anti-defection law.

This follows a complaint filed against the legislators by Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is also the leader of the BJP Legislature Party.

Among those served with the notice is Minister for Excise M.P. Renukacharya, who is identified as the leader of the rebel group. While the BJP shifted its legislators to a resort on the outskirts of Bangalore, the Congress moved its MLAs to a resort near Pune early on Friday.

However, unlike the JD(S), which is playing a key role in wooing the rebel legislators, the Congress has remained in the background.

In another development, JD(S) MLA M.C. Ashwath, who was elected in a by-election in Channapatna, is believed to have shifted his loyalty to the BJP.

The Chief Minister, who was in Mysore earlier in the day to participate in Dasara festivities, attempted in vain to meet rebel legislator H.S. Shankaralinge Gowda.

Sources in the Raj Bhavan told The Hindu that Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, who directed the Chief Minister to seek a vote of confidence before 5 p.m. on October 12, has kept President Pratibha Patil informed of the developments.