Intensifying his efforts to topple the Jagadish Shettar government, the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa is learnt to be attempting to get seven more MLAs from the Bharatiya Janata Party to resign from the Assembly along with the 13 MLAs who are waiting for the arrival of the Speaker to put in their papers.
According to sources close to Mr. Yeddyurappa, consultations are being held by leaders of his camp to convince these seven MLAs, including two Ministers, to quit. As there are indications that Speaker K.G. Bopaiah might return to Bangalore on Monday, Mr. Yeddyurappa is said to be keen that 20 MLAs should give up their Assembly seats on that day to send a clear message that the Shettar government has lost majority.
The Shettar government will be reduced to a minority if more than 15 MLAs from the BJP resign.
Mr. Yeddyurappa’s plans to put the government on the mat by making 13 BJP MLAs quit on Wednesday went awry as the Speaker suddenly went out of Bangalore.
The number of MLAs who are ready to resign their Assembly seats increased to 14 on Thursday with the former Minister Sunil Valyapure joining them. Mr. Valyapure, who had to quit the Ministry after attending Mr. Yeddyurappa’s Haveri rally on December 9, shared the dais with Mr. Yeddyurappa at the Karnataka Janata Paksha office in Bangalore on Thursday and expressed his support.
The presentation of the State Budget by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, scheduled on February 8, has become a bone of contention because Mr. Yeddyurappa is said to be particular that Mr. Shettar, who also belongs to his Lingayat community, should not be allowed to build a political constituency through the budget. The BJP is particular about Mr. Shettar presenting the budget because it will be the party’s informal poll manifesto.
Meanwhile, the 13 MLAs who could not resign on Wednesday because of the absence of the Speaker emailed copies of their resignation letters to Mr. Bopaiah. They expressed their intention to quit either on Saturday or Sunday and appealed to the Speaker to turn up at his office by that time.
Nehru Olekar of this group said they were also considering filing a habeas corpus petition in the Karnataka High Court seeking a direction to the police to trace and produce the Speaker if his whereabouts are not known in the next two days.
Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has not sought details of Mr. Bopaiah’s tour. The Speaker’s office has not received any such communication from the Raj Bhavan, according to sources in the State Secretariat.
Sources pointed out that there was no substance in such reports.
The 13 MLAs had rushed to the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday and complained to Mr. Bhardwaj about Mr. Bopaiah’s absence despite being told in advance about their decision to submit their resignations.