Karnataka crisis: 13 MLAs may quit govt today

Ahead of its budget presentation, the BJP government in Karnataka is likely to be reduced to a minority on Wednesday if a group of 13 MLAs, including two ministers loyal to former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and his Karnataka Janata Party, act on repeated threats to walk away from the party.

Members of this group, including Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje, announced on Tuesday that they would act on the threats to destabilise the government, issued by Yeddyurappa since December last year when he left the BJP to create the KJP.

Karandlaje, a protege of Yeddyurappa, who has been constantly sniping at the government while being a part of it, said here that Tuesday was her last day in office.

"I am proud of my tenure as the energy minister over the last two-and-a-half years. I am leaving the department. It is my last day in office," she said.

Yeddyurappa has called a meeting of the KJP and his supporters in the government on Wednesday and a decision to quit and meet the Governor is likely to be taken there, KJP officials said.

Another Yeddyurappa loyalist and minister, C M Udasi, said that a final decision on quitting ahead of the budget would be taken at Wednesday's meeting. "We will announce every thing tomorrow," the Public Works Department Minister said.

In the northern district of Haveri, Yeddyurappa loyalist and MLA, Nehru Olekar, claimed that 13 legislators are set to quit the government on Wednesday. Their resignation will reduce the BJP's strength to 105 in the 224-member legislative Assembly and poses a danger to the state government.

The Congress has 71 MLAs and the JD(S) has 26 MLAs in the Assembly. JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy on Tuesday ruled out a possibility of backing the BJP.

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