The ruling BJP in Karnataka is rattled after senior leader Basavana Gouda Patil Yatnal’s statement on present cabinet ministers ready to join the Congress after the announcement of elections in the state.
With Congress President D.K. Shivakumar and opposition leader Siddaramaiah endorsing the statements of Yatnal and stating that indeed BJP legislators, including present ministers are in touch with them, has increased the woes of BJP. The party is treading cautiously with the matter.
BJP legislators and senior leaders are demanding immediate cabinet expansion for the four vacant posts in the state. Sources in the party say that though the high command is busy with elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur and also with preparations for the upcoming Budget session, it is watching developments unfolding in Karnataka.
MLA Yatnal has stated that the BJP ministers, who have come from the Congress and JD(S) will quit the BJP at the time of elections and will join the Congress. Yatnal has stated that the leaders from the state will follow the footsteps of Uttar Pradesh leader Swami Prasad Maurya, who had quit the BJP cabinet and joined the Samajwadi party.
The leaders have already spoken to Congress President Shivakumar. “We have information on it. Once the elections are announced, they will resign from the BJP. The party won’t be able to do anything then. They have to act now and expand the cabinet,” he stated.
Shivakumar stated that maintaining secrecy is part of politics. It is not possible to reveal the details of those who are approaching. The matter can’t be discussed with the media. The BJP leaders know what is happening within their party, he added. Siddaramaiah stated that BJP legislators are in touch with him and he won’t reveal their names now.
Party sources said that, as per the directions of high command, the ruling BJP is treading cautiously with the issue of demand of the BJP legislators for expansion of cabinet. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai defended their demands by stating that they have all the right to ask for cabinet berths and the high command also knows about it. Senior cabinet ministers K.S. Eshwarappa and Bhyrathi Basavaraju have stated that they are ready to step down if the party asks them.