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Some Karnataka party MLAs, Ministers in touch with Congress leaders

BENGALURU: Pushing for a cabinet rejig soon, senior Karnataka BJP legislator Basanagouda Patil Yatnal on Monday claimed that some MLAs and Ministers, especially those who joined the saffron party from other parties, are in touch with the Congress leadership, and will jump ship, once the 2023 assembly poll schedule is announced.

Meanwhile, giving credence to these claims, Congress leaders D K Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah said, several leaders from the BJP and JD(S) were in touch with them and that they would not divulge details.

“….several people have booked tickets to go to D K Shivakumar’s house, Siddaramaiah’s house, if you continue with them (as Ministers), where will the BJP survive? For BJP to survive, cabinet reshuffle has to take place at the earliest, good and effective people should be inducted,” Yatnal said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said the government has to function effectively to give a befitting reply to the Congress in the days to come.

“(BJP) Central leadership is aware as to which MLA will quit and who will remain, Prime Minister is also aware and they will take a suitable decision….I’m not saying all those who have joined BJP from other parties are not loyal, but few are there, once the election commission announces dates for polls, by the same afternoon they will resign from BJP and as Ministers and walk out,” he added.

Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah and state Congress President D K Shivakumar, not willing to divulge details, too claimed that several leaders from BJP and JD(S) were in touch with them.

“It is true that they are in contact with us, but I won’t reveal names….it is true that people from both BJP and JD(S) are in touch….how many, who all, won’t reveal,” Siddaramaiah said in response to a question.

Stating that in politics such things cannot be discussed openly, Shivakumar reacting to Yatnal’s claims said “they (BJP) leaders know what is happening within their party. Neither me, nor Siddaramaiah will be able to disclose the names of those who are talking to us…..ask Ministers who are talking to us, instead of me, why should we disclose. This is politics, it is our duty to maintain secrecy.” Of late several BJP legislators have even been advocating Gujarat-like overhaul of the Karnataka Cabinet soon, to make way for new faces, and have noted that if it is done in March, it will be too late for ministers to make any mark, even in their own constituencies. These developments have come amid talks in party circles that the expansion or reshuffle of the cabinet is likely, only after the Assembly elections in five states.

With pressure mounting on him to expand or rejig his cabinet, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai today indicated that he is waiting for the BJP leadership’s consent on going ahead with the exercise, and was also trying to bring it to their notice.

Yatnal, who on Thursday had held a closed-door discussion with another senior legislator M P Renukacharya, today held a similar meeting with party MLAs Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli.

He however called it a casual meeting for lunch at Jarkiholi’s place and not intended at putting any pressure on the party to be inducted into the Ministry.

Source: Press Trust of India

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