Karnataka: BJP defers action against 14 rebel MLAs

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Bangalore, Dec 12: As many as 21 legislators of the ruling party in Karnataka escaped disciplinary action today apparently because of the ongoing election process in Gujarat where the BJP has much at stake.

Fourteen members of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and seven members of the Legislative Council had openly backed BS Yeddyurappa when he formally launched the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) on Dec 9.

That day the MLAs and MLCs attended a rally at Haveri in which the former chief minister took over as the KJP president. Afterwards, the BJP stressed that strong action will be taken against the rebels.

Yeddyurappa Supporters

An announcement about this was expected today. However, party leaders in Karnataka did not take any decision as the Jagadish Shettar-led government would be reduced to a minority if all the rebel MLAs were to resign following their suspension.

Of the 225 members in the Assembly, 118 belong to the BJP at present. KS Eshwarappa who heads the party's state unit told newspersons that the central leadership will be apprised shortly about what sort of action could be taken against the 14 MLAs.

He pointed out that that even if state leaders recommended something, it would be implemented only after the parliamentary board of the BJP approved the same. Asked when the central leadership will look into the matter, he replied that the parliamentary board would meet "in a day or two" at New Delhi.

It seems the BJP will not throw out the rebels until the second phase of polling in Gujarat, slated for Dec 17, is completed.

The party does not want to jeopardise Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's chances of returning to power again by making a mess of things in Karnataka, the state where the 'Lotus' bloomed for the first time in south India, and hence the rebel MLAs and MLCs are likely to get a grace period of five days at least.

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