Bangalore, Jan. 28: The crisis-ridden Karnataka BJP today moved to disqualify the legislators who have resigned from the ruling party to join the breakaway Karnataka Janata Party, headed by B.S. Yeddyurappa.
Ruling party MLAs Beluru Gopalakrishna and M.V. Nagaraju filed a petition before the Assembly secretary — in the absence of the Speaker — seeking action against the legislators who quit last week.
Thirteen BJP MLAs, including two ministers, had quit, plunging the party into crisis. But their resignation letters were kept pending as Speaker K.G. Bopaiah was on holiday.
The Speaker, who has since returned to Bangalore, is scheduled to meet all the 13 MLAs tomorrow.
In the 225-seat Assembly, the BJP has 118 MLAs, including the 13 who had handed in their papers to the governor.
While the ruling party was busy chalking out a survival strategy, it was in for a surprise today when Yeddyurappa denied he was trying to topple the government.
The former chief minister said he had no intention of destabilising the government and preventing it from presenting the state budget.
“If I wanted to dislodge this government, I could have done it the day when the KJP was formed since I had enough support with me. Our aim is not to topple the government. Had I wanted to oppose budget presentation, I would have got 20 MLAs to resign at one go. We don’t have such intentions,” Yeddyurappa told reporters here.
Twenty-one BJP MLAs, besides a host of other leaders, had attended his party’s launch on December 9, 2012, in the northern town of Haveri.
But the BJP is treading with caution. “We don’t want to take any chances,” said a source.
Party insiders said chief minister Jagadish Shettar would use the chance to present a populist budget before he goes to the electorate. Karnataka goes to polls in April-May.
“Yeddyurappa doesn’t want this to happen (the government to fall) since he fears an erosion of Lingayat votes,” the source said.
Like Yeddyurappa, chief minister Shettar is also a Lingayat. But the common caste has not always been a binding factor. Yeddyurappa has in the past attacked Shettar on several occasions, saying he is “shameless” as he continues to be in office despite the government being reduced to a “minority”.