Karnataka: BJP wins over 11 rebel MLAs

Karnataka: BJP wins over 11 rebel MLAs

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Bangalore:  The troubleshooters in the BJP have managed to win back the support of 11 rebel MLAs in Karnataka. These MLAs have written a letter to Governor HR Bhardwaj, saying they support the Yeddyurappa-led government in the state.

At a press conference held around noon today, Karnataka government representative Dhananjay Kumar displayed copies of the relevant faxes sent to the Governor.

"The MLAs have made it clear that they will extend unconditional support to the BJP government headed by Yeddyurappa. They have faxed to His Excellency that they will unconditionally support the Yeddyurappa government. Out of 224 members in the Assembly, the BJP headed by Yeddyurappa has the support of 127 members. An absolute majority is enjoyed by the Yeddyurappa-led government. We have decided to convene the Assembly session on May 16," he said.

Governor Bhardwaj has still not made it clear whether he will allow the state Assembly to convene on Monday - the cabinet had decided that there would be a special session from May 16.

Asked whether he would ask the government to go for a floor test, he said, "Floor tests have not helped Karnataka. It was destroyed by manipulation."

"I have to seek comments," he said in reply to a question whether he thought a fresh floor test was necessary. He said the government has to function by adhering to norms laid down by the Constitution.

Questioning the very value of such votes, the Governor also accused the government of "playing smart with him." "I have to decide on their demands but they can't play smart with me," he said.

With the disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs overturned by the Supreme Court, there initially were questions over whether Chief Minister Yeddyurappa had the numbers to win another floor test, but speaking to NDTV, he seemed very confident. "Everybody knows I have absolute majority. The question of taking vote of confidence does not arise," he said.

He however added that the "Governor is constitutional head, we will follow his directions."

In October last year, Yeddyurappa had to prove his government had not been reduced to a minority.  The BJP was besieged by internal dissent and a group of MLAs wanted to vote against Mr Yeddyurappa. Ahead of the trust vote, the Speaker of the Assembly disqualified 16 MLAs - 11 from the BJP and five independents - under anti-defection laws. With their removal, Yeddyurappa just about survived his vote of confidence.

The Supreme Court on May 13 revoked their disqualification. The 16 MLAs had appealed to the Karnataka High Court against the Speaker's decision. When they lost their case, they brought their complaint to the Supreme Court.

For nearly two years, factions within the BJP in Karnataka have asked the party's leaders in Delhi to select a new head for the state government. Mr Yeddyurappa faces a slew of corruption cases - in different land deals, he allegedly favoured his family members, allowing companies linked to them to acquire land that was meant to be used for public projects.
Full text of letter sent to Governor

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