Bangalore, Feb 1: Another BJP legislator resigned Friday to join former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s Karnataka Janata Party, pushing the six-month-old Jagadish Shettar ministry into a precarious position ahead of the budget session Feb 4.
D.S. Suresh, representing the Tarikere constituency in Chikmagalur, about 250km from Bangalore, handed over the resignation letter to state assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah at Madikeri, about 260 km from here, as the latter’s office in Bangalore did not accept it earlier in the day.
According to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sources, the speaker told Suresh that he would initiate the process of accepting the resignation on his return to Bangalore Monday.
Though Suresh requested the speaker to notify acceptance of his resignation Friday itself so that he could join Yeddyurappa’s party Saturday, Bopaiah expressed inability as he would be in his home town (Madikeri) till Sunday and the speaker’s secretariat was in Bangalore.
Of the party’s 13 rebel legislators who quit Tuesday, the speaker accepted resignations of 12 and kept pending that of Vittal Katakadonda, representing Nagatana assembly segment in Bijapur district, about 600 km north of Bangalore, on technical ground due to errors in the letter.
If Bopaiah accepts the resignation of Suresh and Katakadonda before the 10-day budget session Monday, then the fate of Shettar ministry would depend on the support of six Independents.
The acceptance of the two resignations will reduce the ruling BJP’s strength in the assembly to 104, including the speaker.
The party has, however, support of one of the seven Independents who is a cabinet minister (Varthur Prakash) from Kolar.
The state assembly’s total strength is 225, including one nominated member. The present strength of the house, however, is 211, as there are 14 vacancies, caused by desertion from the BJP ranks.
KJP president and former BJP chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and another BJP lawmaker had resigned earlier.
The opposition Congress has 71 members and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) 26.
One of the Independents, Shivaraj Thangadagi, told reporters in Kanakagiri in Koppal district, about 400 km north of Bangalore, Friday that the six independents would meet Feb 4 to jointly decide whether to support the Shettar government or not.