Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Sunday survived the third threat to his leadership in three years with 16 rebel law makers announcing they will support his leadership.
“We will meet Governor H.R. Bhardwaj in Bangalore and give a letter extending support to Yeddyurappa’s leadership,” the rebel law makers told reporters in New Delhi, three days after the apex court restored their membership.
BJP spokesperson and special representative in New Delhi V. Dhananjaya Kumar said 10 of the BJP rebels who were in the national capital have already faxed a letter to Raj Bhavan extending support to Yeddyurappa.
The 11th BJP rebel in Bangalore has also issued a public statement extending support, Dhananjaya Kumar said.
On the stand of five Independents, he said they were also extending support.
“All 16 of us, (11 of the ruling BJP and five Independents) are united and BJP central leaders have assured to solve the problems we have,” law makers Belur Gopalakrishna, S. K. Bellubbi, Anand Asnotikar and others said at the joint press meet.
They said BJP president Nitin Gadkari and other senior leaders had “responded positively to the problems we raised and hence we decided to again extend our support to Yeddyurappa.”
The change of heart came following the talks senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley had with some of the BJP rebels in New Delhi Saturday.
Yeddyurappa had also sent three ministers, M. P. Renukacharya (excise), Govind Karjola (Kannada and culture) and Umesh Katti (agriculture) to New Delhi to win back the rebels’ support.
Renukacharya and Katti said the rebels had not set any condition for supporting Yeddyurappa again. “They are extending unconditional support,” the two ministers claimed.
The rebels announcement came as three newly elected BJP lawmakers took oath as members of the assembly in Bangalore Sunday.
C.P. Yogeshwar, M. Narayanswamy and S.V. Ramachandra who won the April 9 bypolls were sworn in by speaker K. G. Bopaiah in the presence of Yeddyurappa.
The oath on Sunday, three days after results were announced May 13, was apparently prompted as Yeddyurappa has convened an assembly session from May 16.
However, the governor is yet to agree to Yeddyurappa’s decision.
The governor is also returning to Bangalore from New Delhi later Sunday.
Before leaving for Bangalore, Bhardwaj ticked off BJP’s threat to hold statewide demonstrations if he did not agree to convene the assembly session.
“Organising demonstrations against a constitutional authority like governor is a serious matter. I have taken it seriously. I will act according to the constitution. If they try to act smart, it will not work with me,” he told reporters.
In Bangalore, Yeddyurppa said there was no threat to his leadership as the rebels have agreed to support him.
Excluding the 11 rebels, the BJP has 109 members, including the speaker, in the 225-strong assembly that has one nominated member.
The Congress has 71 members and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) 26. One seat is vacant.
Hence, Yeddyurappa needs the support of at least four more members for majority — 113.
The decision of the rebels to meet Yeddyurappa comes as a relief to the chief minister who has been facing increasing dissidence in his party.
Yeddyurappa is also under mounting pressure from the opposition Congress and JD-S to quit, particularly in view of the strictures passed by the Supreme Court over the way he and Speaker K.G. Bopaiah acted over the disqualification issue.
The two parties have demanded that Bhardwaj recommend to the central government to dismiss Yeddyurappa government as it has been reduced to minority following the restoration of membership of the 16 rebels.
They have also urged Bhardwaj not to agree to convene the assembly on May 16.
Yeddyurappa, who completes three years in office May 25, was almost brought down by the rebellion of mining barons the Reddy brothers in 2009.
In early 2010, a cabinet reshuffle led to the second rebellion against Yeddyurappa.
Later in Oct 11 last year, BJP and five Independents struck against him by writing to the governor that they no longer support Yeddyurappa, reducing his government into a minority.
Following this they were disqualified, which was set aside May 13 by the Supreme Court.