S. Rajendran

He shifts four officials close to the Ministers; Jaitley arrives to broker peace

CM complains to

Jaitley of

‘arm-twisting’

Legislators plump for Shettar in case of change of guard

Bangalore: The dissidence in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) arising out of the differences between Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and the Ministers from Bellary on Wednesday took a new turn with the former striking a tough posture and shifting several top officials who owe their allegiance to the Bellary Ministers.

Much to the anger of the Reddy brothers, the Chief Minister cracked the whip in Bangalore even as the foundation-laying programme for two villages, a private initiative by the Bellary Ministers to construct 50,000 houses, was in progress at Siruguppa in Bellary district. The Bellary Ministers had refrained from inviting the Chief Minister to the programme, although the latter has said that any initiative in constructing houses for the flood victims is welcome.

Minister for Tourism G. Janardhana Reddy, Minister for Revenue G. Karunakara Reddy and Minister for Health B. Sriramulu expressed their ire against the Chief Minister at the function when Mr. Yeddyurappa decided to assert himself and transferred the officials — Deputy Commissioner of Bellary B. Shivappa, Superintendent of Police Seemant Kumar Singh, Deputy Conservation of Forests in Bellary district Muthaiah, and Secretary, Department of Health, I.R. Perumal.

‘No threat to govt.’

Sources in the BJP told The Hindu that there was no threat to the government and exuded the confidence that the differences would be ironed out in a day or two. The central leadership of the BJP rushed general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Arun Jaitley to Bangalore to hold discussions with the warring factions and bring about an amicable settlement.

The Chief Minister, accompanied by party State unit president D.V. Sadananda Gowda, called on Mr. Jaitley and the two of them are stated to have put forth their arguments, particularly the manner in which the Bellary Ministers were “arm-twisting” the Chief Minister to yield to their demands.

Later in the day, Mr. Karunakara Reddy and Mr. Sriramulu called on Mr. Jaitley and presented their version, including their complaints against the Chief Minister and a few other Ministers.

Mr. Jaitley, who will be here till Thursday, will meet Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Jagadish Shettar, Minister for Energy K.S. Eshwarappa and other party seniors. In the meanwhile, with the belief that a leadership change is in the offing, BJP Ministers and legislators have been making a beeline to Mr. Shettar to convey their support and impress upon him that he should gear up to take over the mantle.

More In: KARNATAKA | NATIONAL