Karnataka chief minister Jagadish Shettar on Friday sacked BS Yeddyurappa loyalist BJ Puttaswamy from the Karnataka cabinet.
This comes just before the launch of Yeddyurappa’s Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) after the former state CM broke with the BJP.
Puttaswamy was the state cooperatives minister, and his sacking was seen by Yeddyurappa loyalists as the BJP picking on a soft target in a not-so-prominent “OBC leader”.
“He is an MLC, so Shettar has sacked him. If he sacks MLAs, his government will fall,” said a Yeddyurappa aide.
Puttaswamy himself said: “It is unethical and undemocratic. If Shettar would have asked me to resign, I would have done so willingly… Yeddyurappa is my leader. I will always remain loyal to him. I am a free bird now and I am going to Haveri to attend KJP bash.”
The BJP also suspended its state MP GS Basavaraj for anti-party activities and his public pronouncements in general.
Party state unit president and deputy chief minister Eeswarappa announced the decision to suspend Basavaraj from the party: “In Karnataka, we are giving importance to discipline. One Lok Sabha member from Tumkur, Basavaraj... he is violating the party discipline. We, all the core leaders from Karnataka, sat with the national leaders and we have taken the decision to suspend Basavaraj.”
Yeddyurappa was removed from the top post after his indictment in a Lokayukta report on illegal mining. He finally quit the party accusing it of not reinstating him despite an “assurance”, and will announce his new party, KJP, at Haveri on Sunday.