Karnataka BJP crisis: Two quit ministry, 13 to leave assembly

Bangalore, Jan 23 (IANS) Karnataka's BJP government Wednesday was in deep crisis as two ministers quit the cabinet and 13 party legislators, including the two ministers, announced they will resign from the assembly too.

Public Works Minister C.M. Udasi and Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje, loyalists of former BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa, submitted their resignations to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar here.

The plan of the 13 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators to quit the assembly did not materialise as Speaker K.G. Bopaiah was not present in his office, though, as Udasi said, he had been "informed" that resignation letters would be submitted to him Wednesday.

After waiting in the speaker's chamber for over an hour, Udasi led the legislators to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and briefed him about the absence of the speaker and submitted copies of the resignation letters to him.

Bhardwaj "assured" the legislators that he would take action as per constitution, Udasi told reporters at Raj Bhavan.

Karandlaje said the BJP had ensured the speaker's absence.

"Our information is that a cabinet minister escorted the speaker to the airport last night (Tuesday). We have requested the governor for a probe and protection to us," she added.

Karandlaje said the legislators had appealed to the governor to ensure that their resignation letters be accepted immediately.

The 13 legislators are staunch followers of Yeddyurappa and will join his new outfit Karnataka Janata Party (KJP).

Their resignation from the assembly is aimed at preventing Shettar from presenting the 2013-14 budget as that could help the BJP in the assembly elections due in May.

The resignations, if accepted, would bring down BJP's strength in the 225-member assembly to 105 from 118, including the speaker. The ruling party has the support of one independent member, who is a cabinet minister.

Udasi claimed that another four to five legislators were also ready to quit the assembly and they would soon do so.

Now the focus is both on the governor and the steps the BJP would take to ensure the survival of the Shettar ministry which took over only in July last year.

The governor is expected to ask Shettar to prove his majority in the assembly which is to meet Feb 4-13 for budget presentation.

The combined opposition -- the Congress (71) and Janata Dal-Secular (26) -- strength is 97. There are six other Independents. One is a nominated member while two seats are vacant.

If more than 20 BJP legislators quit the assembly, the BJP would have to muster support from the independents for the trust vote. Or hope that either the Congress or the JD-S or both walk out of the assembly ahead of the trust vote.

Shettar is yet take a decision on the resignation of the two ministers as he left on a two-day tour of north Karnataka soon after receiving the quit letters.

He told reporters that he would take decision after "considering them (the letters)".

State BJP chief and Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa continued to maintain a brave front in the face of the deep crisis and told reporters in Bangalore that there was no threat to the Shettar ministry.

"Our government will last till the end of the term and Shettar will present the budget on Feb 8," he said declining to elaborate on steps the BJP would take to overcome the crisis.

The absence of Bopaiah also irked Yeddyurappa, who lashed out at his former party and Chief Minister Shettar over the development.

"This is a shameless government. The speaker is not present even though he had been informed. He should be brought back within 24 hours," he told reporters outside the speaker's chamber in Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat in the heart of the city.

He also demanded that Shettar return to Bangalore immediately and quit as he has "lost majority". Yeddyurappa appealed to people to "gherao" (lay siege to) Shettar to force him to return to Bangalore.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Chennai vs Punjab

On Now: Chennai vs Punjab

Chennai off to a flier after Dhoni elects to bat at Abu Dhabi. More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »