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Karnataka BJP MLAs resign

Bangalore, Jan. 23: The BJP government in Karnataka plunged into a crisis today after 13 legislators, including two ministers, handed in their resignations in a mass walkout orchestrated by the party’s former southern strongman B.S. Yeddyurappa.

While the ministers submitted their resignations from the cabinet to chief minister Jagadish Shettar, the others put in their papers to governor H.R. Bharadwaj as the Assembly Speaker had left the city last night in a surprise move.

Minus the 13, the BJP’s strength in the 225-member House would come down to 106, seven short of majority.

The first to resign were energy minister Shobha Karandlaje and public works minister C.M. Udasi. “I have received the resignations but no decision has been taken as yet,” Shettar told reporters.

The two ministers were in for a surprise when they drove to the secretariat to meet Speaker K.G. Bopiah to resign.

Yeddyurappa immediately drove to the secretariat building. He blasted the BJP government for trying to scuttle the rebels’ plan. “This is a shameless government that must quit immediately,” said the former chief minister.

“The Speaker left without making alternative arrangements,” he fumed.

Karandlaje told reporters the Speaker had yesterday said he would meet them. “We have information that a minister saw him off at the airport,” she said, hinting at a BJP ploy to defer an inevitable collapse.