Yeddyurappa says he met Jaitley, firm on new party

Bangalore: A day after denying meeting BJP leader Arun Jaitley, former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Monday said he had met him but declined to give details and reiterated that he would launch his own party.

Yeddyurappa, however, was insistent that he would quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and launch his Karnataka Janata Party Dec 9.

Jaitley was here late Saturday and left for Delhi Sunday morning.

The former chief minister said he now planned to quit the BJP by month-end instead of Dec 9, the day he will launch his new outfit in Haveri, 350 km north of Bangalore.

He also said if the BJP expelled him before that, he would welcome it.

Yeddyurappa decided to quit the BJP as he was not made the party's state chief after he quit as chief minister July last year over bribery charges.

State assembly elections are due May next year and Yeddyurappa hopes he will bag enough seats in the 225-member house to be a deciding factor in the formation of a new government.

The BJP came to power for the first time in Karnataka in May 2008. It bagged 110 seats, which includes one nominated member, and formed the government with the support of six independents.

Yeddyurappa, who has been associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the BJP -- including its earlier avatar of Jan Sangh -- for over 40 years, is largely credited for the BJP coming to power in Karnataka.

On state BJP leaders warning of action against those attending the launch of the new party at Haveri, Yeddyurappa said those interested would join his outfit and others in the party may do so later.

At least 10 ministers in Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar's cabinet and around 40 of the BJP's 119 assembly members, several Lok Sabha and legislative council members have been supporting Yeddyurappa.

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