The crisis in Karnataka reached a “make or break stage” as Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa bowed to the rebels by removing his principal secretary V.P. Baligar as part of a compromise formula.
The rebels led by the Reddys, however, continued to play the game of brinkmanship, flaunting the resignations of 53 MLAs who wanted the CM to go.
Their act forced the party high command to tell them -- for the first time -- that beyond a point, their act of defiance was unacceptable if they were unwilling to see reason and not accept the compromise formula, sources said.
The formula envisages Yeddyurappa’s continuation as chief minister but he will drop his key aides and close ministers, particularly rural development minister Shoba Karandlaje.
He will also cancel the controversial transfers of officials close to the Reddys and reallocate work to ensure the rebel ministers and MLAs too have a say.
A coordination panel would be set up involving the rebel ministers and BJP leaders to ensure Yeddyurappa does not take decisions unilaterally.
Unveiling the formula, the central leaders asked the Reddys to “disband” the rebel MLAs holed up outside Karnataka. Accordingly, tourism minister G. Janardhan Reddy left for Hyderabad to consult with the dissidents and plan their course of action.
Yeddyurappa was also asked by top BJP leaders, who went into huddle at L.K. Advani’s residence, to stay back for another day to resolve the situation.
But in Hyderabad, Janardhan Reddy still stuck to his demand for “better leadership”, raising questions on the dissidents’ plan in the next 24 hours. “I hope something good will emerge on the leadership issue in the next two to three days.”
Senior BJP leaders and Yeddyurappa denied the resignation of MLAs even as he implemented the first aspect of the formula.
He posted aide Baligar as principal secretary, industries department, and brought I.S.N. Prasad in his place. Baligar’s
removal was a key demand of the rebel Reddy camp.
The CM said he was awaiting the BJP high’s command nod for dropping some of the ministers, for whom the rebels have been gunning.