Karnataka BJP rebels protest in speaker's office

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 29, 2013 16:22 hrs

Bangalore: In an unprecedented development in Karnataka politics, 12 rebel lawmakers of the ruling BJP, Tuesday staged a sit-in protest in the assembly speaker's office demanding immediate acceptance of their resignations from the house.

"We will continue the dharna (sit-in) till our resignation is accepted," B.P. Harish, one of the 12 loyalists of the party's former leader B.S. Yeddyurappa, told reporters outside the speaker's office.

The 12 were among the 13 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) assembly members who met Speaker K.G. Bopaiah early Tuesday and submitted their resignation letters giving up the membership of the house.

However, Bopaiah's office announced that he has accepted the resignation of only one of the 13, Thippeswamy who represented Challakere constituency in Chitradurga district, about 200 km north of Bangalore.

Bopaiah is understood to be taking time to decide on the resignation of the 12 as two other BJP law makers had sought their disqualification for "anti-party activities" in view of their open support for Yeddyurappa.

The petition to disqualify the 12 law makers was filed Monday.

Yeddyurappa quit BJP and assembly Nov 30 and is leading the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP).

While Bopaiah and his office did not give any official reason for the delay in deciding on the resignation of the 12 legislators, official sources said the speaker has sought the advice of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on whether he can accept the resignations in view of the petition for the disqualification.

Those on 'dharna' at the speaker's office include C.M. Udasi, Shobha Karandlaje and Sunil Vallyapure, who were ministers. Udasi and Karandlaje quit last Wednesday while Vallyapure resigned last month.

Udasi handled public works department, Karandlaje energy and Vallyapure infrastructure development.

Apart from quitting the assembly, the 13 would also leave the BJP soon to join the KJP.

The resignations are part of a plan by Yeddyurappa to try to prevent Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar from presenting the budget for 2013-14 in the assembly on Feb 8. The assembly's 10-day budget session is scheduled to begin Feb 4.

The resignation of the 13 legislators from the assembly would not threaten the survival of the Shettar ministry as the ruling party would still have 105 members, including the speaker, in the 225-member assembly with two vacancies.

The BJP also has the support of one of the seven independent members who is a cabinet minister.

The Congress has 71 members and the Janata Dal-Secular 26. One is a nominated member.

The resignations were to be submitted to Bopaiah last Wednesday but could not be done as he went out of Bangalore the previous day.

Upset that he was not present in spite of being informed Tuesday about the plan to meet him the next day to submit the resignations, the legislators had met and complained about the development to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj.

They had also given Bhardwaj copies of their resignation letters and urged him to intervene for their immediate acceptance by the speaker.

After keeping quiet for three days on his whereabouts, Bopaiah said late Friday that he had been to Nepal on a "private visit".

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