Karnataka BJP in trouble, two ministers quit (Afternoon Lead)

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 23, 2013 10:40 hrs

Bangalore, Jan 23 (IANS) The BJP government in Karnataka Wednesday faced a serious threat of survival as two ministers quit the cabinet and 13 party legislators, including the two ministers, announced they will resign from the assembly too.

Public Works Minister C.M. Udasi and Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje, loyalists of former BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa, submitted their resignations to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar here.

Shettar told reporters, before leaving for a two-day tour of north Karnataka, that he had received the resignation letters and would take a decision after "considering them".

Udasi, Karandlaje and 11 other legislators, however, could not submit their resignation from the assembly as Speaker K.G. Bopaiah was out of Bangalore.

The absence of the speaker led to high drama in his chamber as Udasi, Karandlaje and other legislators waited for him for about an hour.

The legislators were upset that Bopaiah was not present even though he had been "informed about our coming to meet him today (Wednesday)," Udasi told reporters in the speaker's chamber.

Yeddyurappa, who came to the speaker's office after learning about the drama, lambasted Shettar, Bopaiah and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the development.

"This is a shameless government. The speaker is not present even though he had been informed. He should be brought back within 24 hours," he said.

He also demanded that Shettar return to Bangalore immediately and quit as he had "lost majority".

Yeddyurappa appealed to people to "gherao" (lay siege to) Shettar to force him to return to Bangalore.

Udasi, Karandlaje and other 11 legislators met Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and briefed him about the speaker not being present to receive their resignation letters even though he had been "informed" about it.

"We gave copies of our resignation letters to the governor and briefed him about the developments. We requested him to take action according to constitutional provisions," Udasi told reporters outside Raj Bhavan (governor's official residence).

"The governor has assured us that he would act as per the constitution," Udasi said.

Earlier, Bhardwaj, who returned to Bangalore Wednesday from New Delhi, told reporters that he had no role to play in the unfolding drama but would act to prevent any constitutional crisis.

Udasi and the legislators who are quitting the assembly will join the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) headed by Yeddyurappa to strengthen it ahead of the assembly elections due in May.

Yeddyurappa, the BJP's first chief minister in the state, quit the party and the assembly Nov 30 to form and lead the KJP as he was not made state BJP chief.

He was forced out of the chief minister's post in July 2011 over mining bribery charges.

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