Cracks widening in Karnataka BJP?

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Bangalore, Jul 12: The BJP government in Karnataka might have ensured its stability by ''engineering'' defection from opposition camps, but it has created discontent within the party with senior legislators being ''sore'' about ''gifting'' ministerial berths to turn-coats.

The BJP, which emerged as a single largest party in the recent Assembly elections, by winning 110 seats, three seats short of a simple majority, jolted the Congress and the Janata Dal(S) by roping in five Legislators from these parties to ensure a majority of its own.This happened after it formed the government with the support of the six Independents, who refused to become the associate members of the BJP.

In its bid to ward off any future trouble and ensure stability of its government, the BJP ''masterminded'' the defections. The four new entrants, who have now resigned from their seats, would contest on party tickets in the bypolls.

This happened after the Congress and the JD(S), despite being bitter rivals, came together during the Rajya Sabha elections from the state.

With the resignation of three Legislators from the Congress and two from the JD(S), the strength of the Karnataka Assembly reduced to 220, which resulted in the BJP gaining a simple majority on its own with 111 members. This included a nominated member from the Anglo - Indian community.

While the BJP gave ministerial berths to three of the defecting legislators, another was nominated as Slum Clearance Board Chairman. The party also assured Congress Legislator Jaggesh, who was the latest to join the BJP, of a party ticket for the coming Lok Sabha elections. The pace with which the defections were ''instigated'' and methods adopted by some party leaders in ''luring'' both Congress and JD(S) Legislators had not been taken well by some party legislators, especially those who had been elected three or more times to the Assembly but overlooked in ministry.

Top leaders like state party chief D V Sadananda Gowda and BJP national secretary Ananth Kumar, were reportedly ''left in the dark'' about the moves by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa in the ''operation.'' Some of the BJP legislators, who had toiled for the growth of the party in the state, had reportedly expressed their anguish over ''ignoring'' them in the 'ministry formation' by the Chief Minister.

A BJP leader said on condition of anonymity that ''discontent is brewing within the party over the style of functioning of the Chief Minister and is likely to snowball into a major crisis in the coming days.'' However, refuting this argument, Mr Yeddyurappa had said the party legislators were aware of the situation in which BJP enjoyed a wafer-thin majority in the Assembly. After having gained majority in the Assembly, BJP's focus would be the overall development of the state.

''I know that some of the leaders, including Mr Ananth Kumar, are unhappy with the induction of outsiders and I am trying to convince them about the inevitability of such moves,'' Mr Yeddyurappa had said.


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