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High drama at Raj Bhavan as rebels made to wait

india Updated: May 15, 2011 22:18 IST
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Several ministers and 10 Bharatiya Janata Party rebels spent more than half-an-hour outside the Karnataka Raj Bhavan on Sunday evening as governor HR Bhardwaj kept them waiting.

After the long wait, Bhardwaj finally agreed to meet a group of ministers, but not the rebels.

The rebels drove straight in a bus from the airport to Raj Bhavan after arriving from New Delhi from where they had faxed a letter to Bhardwaj supporting chief minister BS Yeddyurappa.

The rebels were to give individual letters to the governor expressing support to Yeddyurappa.

They were also to take back the letter given to the governor in October by them and six other legislators withdrawing support to Yeddyurappa, which led to their disqualification.

The Supreme Court on Friday restored their membership following which the BJP central leaders intervened on Saturday to win over the 11 party rebels.

HS Shankaralinge Gowda, one of the rebels, however, has so far refused to support the chief minister, but has said he will remain in the party.

The 10 BJP rebels at the Raj Bhavan were Balachandra Jarkiholi, Anand Asnotikar, Shivanagouda Naik, SK Bellubbi (all former ministers), Belur Gopalakrishna, Sarvabhouma Bagali, Raju Kage, Y Sampangi and GN Nanjundaswamy.

The ministers who waited for the appointment with them were Murgesh Nirani (industries), V Somanna (housing), CH Vijayashankar (forest), MP Renukacharya (excise), Govind Karjola (Kannada and culture) and Umesh Katti (agriculture).

Nirani was heard saying that if Bhardwaj does not give appointment "then it makes clear what his intentions are". He declined to elaborate.

Bhardwaj has been highly critical of the Yeddyurappa government and has sanctioned prosecution of the chief minister over corruption and illegal land deal charges.

The governor too was away in New Delhi and had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday.

He returned to Bangalore on Sunday afternoon.

For several minutes the 10 lawmakers and three ministers who accompanied them from New Delhi - Renukacharya, Karjola and Katti - waited in the bus itself outside the Raj Bhavan gate as they were not allowed inside.

As they waited, Jarkiholi, who has emerged as the rebels' leader, told reporters that they would give individual letters to Bhardwaj expressing support to Yeddyurappa.

The rebels were given a rousing reception at the airport by their supporters who had brought in a group of drummers and carried placards.