A group of 12 dissident legislators from Karnataka's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including four ministers, arrived in Mumbai from Kerala early Thursday and are holed up at Mumbai Airport, party sources said.
The dozen strong group of BJP legislators had planned to travel to Shirdi in Maharashtra Thursday morning, but owing to security considerations abandoned the proposal. Temporarily housed in the airport, they are likely to catch a flight to Goa later in the day and stay there for the next three days or so, the sources said.
The 29-month-old BJP government in Karnataka was Wednesday reduced to a minority in the 225-member assembly after 19 lawmakers, including 14 from the ruling party, submitted a joint letter to the governor withdrawing support and expressing lack of confidence in Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
A senior Maharashtra BJP leader, Vinod Tawde, received the 12 legislators around 1.30 a.m. at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and made arrangements to make them comfortable while in transit. They arrived from Kochi.
Tawde also conveyed a personal message from senior party leader L.K. Advani to the group. He, however, declined to name the legislators who have come to Mumbai or the contents of Advani's message to them.
A party spokesperson told IANS that “we have made the arrangements” as required for the group of legislators. “Beyond that, we are not involved in the issue in any manner,” he asserted.
Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has directed Yeddurappa to prove that he enjoyed the confidence of the house by 5 p.m. on Oct 12. However, Yeddyurappa said he would do it a day earlier.
"I have requested Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to convene the assembly session Monday (Oct 11) at 10 a.m. I am confident of proving majority on the floor of the house," an unfazed Yeddyurappa told reporters outside Raj Bhavan on Wednesday.