BJP battles Bhardwaj to save Karnataka government
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka seems set to take to New Delhi its battle against Governor HR Bhardwaj for reportedly seeking the government's dismissal and direct central rule in the state.india Updated: May 16, 2011 10:17 IST
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka seems set to take to New Delhi its battle against Governor HR Bhardwaj for reportedly seeking the government's dismissal and direct central rule in the state.
The BJP legislators are meeting on Monday to decide the strategy to save their government.
They are likely to opt to present themselves to President Pratibha Patil in Delhi to prove the party has majority in the assembly.
The legislators meeting will be followed by a cabinet session of Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa who late on Sunday wrote to Patil to reject Bhardwaj's "unconstitutional move".
Bhardwaj has not made public the "special report" he says he has sent to central government on the Karnataka developments following the Supreme Court restoring the membership of 16 rebel lawmakers May 13.
Of the 16 legislators, 11 are from BJP and five are independents.
The rebellion in October last year had reduced Yeddyurappa ministry to a minority in the 225-member assembly and Bhardwaj had ordered the chief minister to seek trust vote.
The 16 rebels were disqualified ahead of the Oct 11 trust vote which helped Yeddyurappa win it amid chaos in the assembly.
Bhardwaj ordered another trust vote which Yeddyurappa won Oct 14 with 106 votes in favour and 100 against.
Of the 11 BJP rebels who won back their membership, 10 again expressed their support to Yeddyurappa Sunday while the 11th refused to do so.
The 10 waited outside Raj Bhavan late Sunday to hand over their individual support letters but Bhardwaj did not meet them.
He, however, met a group of ministers after which BJP spokesperson and former central minister V Dhananjaya Kumar announced that Bhardwaj had "accepted" the support letters, indicating Yeddyurappa had survived the crisis.
However, the jubilation in the BJP camp was short-lived as the ruling party apprehended that Bhardwaj had quietly sought dismissal of the Yeddyurappa government and imposition of direct central rule, keeping the assembly in suspension.
It was Dhananjaya Kumar who told the media that Bhardwaj was possibly seeking dismissal of the Yeddyurappa government, within an hour of claiming that the governor had "accepted" the support letters.
Following the apex court restoring the membership of the 16 rebels, Bhardwaj, an advocate and a former central law minister, seems to have gone by the situation that existed after the 16 withdrew support to Yeddyurappa and before their disqualification.
But BJP's contention is that Bhardwaj should go by the numbers the party has now and not on the basis of the situation that would have existed if the 16 rebels had not been disqualified.
The BJP says that with 10 of the 11 party rebels again extending support to Yeddyurappa, the party has 120 members, including the speaker, in the 225-strong house that has one nominated member.
The party also has the support of one independent legislator.
It will now be a case of 'over to legal experts' - to argue and advise President Patil for and against Bhardwaj's action, in case he has sought dismissal of Yeddyurappa government.
Politically, however, the reported move of Bhardwaj would be a boon for the beleaguered Yeddyurappa.
The BJP, including the increasing number of dissidents in the party against him, will now have to rally behind Yeddyurappa in spite of charges of corruption and illegal land deals hurled at him.