One more Karnataka BJP legislator quits, to join KJP

Bangalore, Feb 1 (IANS) One more BJP lawmaker submitted his resignation from the assembly Friday, pushing the Jagadish Shettar ministry into a precarious position ahead of the budget session beginning Feb 4.

"I have submitted my resignation from the assembly to Speaker K.G. Bopaiah's office as he was not present," D.S. Suresh, who represents Tarikere constituency, about 250 km north of Bangalore, told reporters here.

"I have requested that the resignation be accepted early. As soon as it is accepted, I will quit BJP and join KJP (Karnataka Janata Party headed by former BJP chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa)," Suresh said.

With Suresh's move, Bopaiah, who is away in his hometown Madikeri, about 260 km, now has two BJP legislators' resignations to accept.

He has kept pending, on technical grounds, the resignation of Vittal Katakadonda who represents Nagatana seat, about 600 km north of Bangalore, since last Tuesday when 12 other BJP legislators' resignations from the assembly were accepted.

If Bopaiah accepts the resignation of Suresh and Katakadona before the assembly begins its budget session Monday, then the fate of Shettar ministry would depend on Independents.

These two resignations, if accepted, bring down the Bharatiya Janata Party's strength in the assembly to 104, including the speaker. The party has the support of one of the seven Independents who is a cabinet minister.

The Karnataka assembly strength is 225, including one nominated member.

However, at present, the strength of the house is 211 as there are 14 vacancies, created by desertion from the BJP ranks. Yeddyurappa and another BJP assembly member had quit the house earlier.

The Congress has 71 members and the Janata Dal-Secular 26. There are six other Independents.

One of the Independents, Shivaraj Thangadagi, Friday told reporters in Kanakagiri in Koppal district, about 400 km north of Bangalore, that the six independents would meet Feb 4 to jointly decide whether to support the Shettar government or not.

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