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20 miffed MLAs to give up their seats today

Special Correspondent

Cabinet expansion plan stirs up a hornet's nest


These MLAs have rallied round Renukacharya

Sagar MLA lashes out at Eshwarappa


Bangalore: The BJP Government, headed by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, seems to be heading for a major trouble as a group of 20 MLAs has decided to resign from the Legislative Assembly.

Sagar MLA Gopalakrishna Belur told presspersons here on Monday that the group, which includes Ministers, under the leadership of Excise Minister M.P. Renukacharya, had decided to submit their resignations to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Tuesday in protest against the injustice meted out to party loyalists.

‘Injustice'

“The red carpet has been rolled out to outsiders and first-timers, while injustice has been meted out to loyalists,” Mr. Gopalakrishna said. A group of MLAs and Ministers, which he termed as a “wing”, would meet on Tuesday to decide the future course of action, he said.

Mr. Gopalakrishna, who has publicly declared his desire to join the Cabinet several times, said he had not indulged in any dissident or anti-party activity. “I have a desire to become a Minister,” he said. The group decided to tender their resignations from the Assembly following a move by the Chief Minister to deny a Cabinet berth to him (Mr. Gopalakrishna) and to drop a couple of Ministers, the Sagar legislator claimed.

Pressure tactic?

To a question if it was a pressure tactic, Mr. Gopalakrishna denied it saying he had every right to seek a berth in the Cabinet.

Following serious differences among State-level leaders on the Cabinet expansion, Mr. Yeddyurappa and State BJP president K.S. Eshwarappa rushed to New Delhi.

Mr. Gopalakrishna, who was in the forefront of the revolt against the Chief Minister last year, refused to reveal the names of MLAs and Ministers who had planned to give up their Assembly membership, but confirmed that it included Minister for Mass Education, Public Libraries, Small Savings and Lotteries Shivanagouda Naik.

Reports suggest that Mr. Naik is one of Ministers who is likely to be dropped.

The Sagar MLA lashed out at Mr. Eshwarappa for his remark that he (Mr. Gopalakrishna) was free to remain in the party or go.

Mr. Gopalakrishna, an Idiga, has been demanding a ministerial berth for the community.

Mr. Eshwarappa's remark “is an insult to the Idiga community and my constituency.”

Mr. Eshwarappa had stated that the Idiga community members had not voted for the BJP.

“This has hurt me and the community.”

Strong force

There was no representation for the Idiga community in the Cabinet following the resignation of H. Halappa. The community is a formidable force in Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada districts.

Several MPs, including B.Y. Raghavendra, got elected to the Lok Sabha owing to the support of the Idiga community, Mr. Gopalakrishna claimed.

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