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BJP divided over `Datta Mala'

Special Correspondent

Bangalore: Sharp differences have reportedly cropped up in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State unit with some of the party legislators hailing from the Chickmagalur-Shimoga-Dakshina Kannada belt unhappy with the decision of the State Government, which has rejected their plea to go ahead with the "Datta Mala Abhiyana" on Sunday at Bababudangiri in Chickmagalur district.

Party sources told The Hindu that irrespective of the Government's decision, the legislators had decided to go ahead with the programmes at Chickmagalur and Bababudangiri. With the Government empowering the district administration to take whatever steps were necessary to maintain law and order, legislators face arrest. The BJP legislators, who have stuck to their demand on conducting the programme and the Shoba Yatra, are C.T. Ravi, Raghupathi Bhat, Jivaraj and Sunil Kumar.

Earlier, the BJP leaders and legislators from the Chickmagalur region arrived in a group at the residence of Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to pressure the Government to go ahead with the "Datta Mala Abhiyana" programmes. The Deputy Chief Minister assured the legislators that their demand would be considered at the meeting of the State Cabinet.

But the Cabinet decided that any decision pertaining to revoke the ban orders in Chickmagalur should be left to the district authorities. Mr. Ravi, who is Chickmagalur MLA, said he would resign as MLA if it served the cause.

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