Karnataka govt in trouble as 13 MLAs attend BSY show of strength

As former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa formally launched his Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) at a mega rally in the northern town of Haveri on Sunday, 13 BJP MLAs defied the party to attend the event, leaving a question mark on the majority enjoyed by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar.

The BJP has a total of 118 elected members in the 224-member Assembly at present, with the Congress at 71, JD(S) at 26, Independents at seven and two seats lying vacant.

Daring his former party, Yeddyurappa said: "I have just heard that the BJP is going to take action against the 13 legislators present at this meeting. If you have the guts, dissolve the state assembly and go to polls...''

Addressing the rally, which was attended by about four lakh people, he said: "I am telling you Shettar, you have become the chief minister with my support. You don't have the numbers now. Resign because you don't have the numbers."

Targeting his fellow Lingayat leader, he said: "I made Shettar the chief minister and gave him authority because we wanted a chief minister from north Karnataka. Now Shettar has joined hands with the national leadership and is trying to play with us. If you have the guts, dissolve the Assembly and let us go before the people."

Though as many as 20 legislators, including seven ministers, were present earlier in the day at a breakfast meeting hosted by Yeddyurappa, the ministers chose to skip the KJP launch rally. The number of MLAs associated with the KJP on Sunday was a far cry from the 40 that was projected by the Yeddyurappa group.

Though Yeddyurappa himself had publicly asked MLAs supporting him to stay away from the rally, he is believed to have tried to convince MLAs in private to show up at the meeting.

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