A last-ditch attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party high command to resolve the ongoing crisis in the Karnataka government appears to have failed, with the rebel state ministers -- Tourism Minister Janardhan Reddy, Revenue Minister Karunakar Reddy, Chairman of Karnataka Milk Federation Somashekhar Reddy and Health Minister B Sriramulu -- sticking to their demand for the removal of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.
Janardhan Reddy, who held a meeting with his brother Karunakar Reddy, told a press conference in Bengaluru that he is hopeful that the party high command will give in to their demands.
State Home Minister Dr V S Acharya, who is camping in New Delhi, told rediff.com that the contentious issues have been sorted out by the high command, but the party is yet to make a formal announcement about the same.
When asked whether senior BJP leaders would cave in to the rebels' demand of reallocating the Home portfolio, he said, "I don't think so".
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa broke down while talking about the ongoing crisis in the state, blaming the dissidents for shifting focus from relief work to politics.
"I apologise to the flood victims. When they are facing so many problems, we should not have wasted time on this crisis," he told Kannada channel Suvarna.
He said the people he had trusted did not support him.
"I should have not been distracted. I hope God will forgive me," the CM said.
Yeddyurappa admitted that he was forced to accept some demands made by the Reddy brothers like the transfer of Principal Secretary V P Baligar and the likely axing of his trusted minister Shoba Karandlaje.
"For my selfish ends, I was forced to ditch those who were my trusted people. Be it Shoba or Baligar. Even God will not forgive me for this," he said.
According to the 'compromise formula' reportedly adopted by the party, the BJP's top brass has accepted every demand put forward by the rebel leaders, except their demand for the CM's removal.
The vetting team:
The party will reportedly constitute a vetting team, comprising senior BJP leaders, which will supervise each and every decision made by the CM. The team will be headed by Arun Jaitley and will comprise senior state leaders including Ananth Kumar and Jagadish Shettar. This committee will scrutinise every decision taken by the CM including the transfer of state officials.
Change of ministers:
The Reddy camp has demanded that Rural Development Minister Shobha Karandlage, Home Minister V S Acharya and Irrigation Minister Basavaraj Bommai be removed from the cabinet. These important portfolios, held by ministers who are considered to be part of Yeddyurappa's inner coterie, will be handed over to the Reddy faction.
The Reddy faction will also get the lucrative ministries of Industry and PWD. Janardhan Reddy, who holds the tourism portfolio, will become the minister for Large and Medium Industries.
Shettar, who had been portrayed as a chief ministerial candidate by the Reddy faction, will continue as the Speaker of the assembly.
Mid term poll:
The party central leadership has made it clear to the rebels that if they don't agree to the compromise formula, the state might face mid-term polls, which will not go down well with the voters. The Reddy faction, which is adamant about seeking a leadership change, has been told to either accept the compromise formula or face mid-term polls.
The party leaders have told the Reddy faction that this kind of public squabbling was hurting the party's reputation.
The party leadership's stance:
The party top brass has also ignored the resignation letters submitted by the 55 Members of Legislative Assembly on Friday, who are backing the powerful and affluent Reddy brothers. The BJP leadership, which has been ridiculed for its perceived soft stance in dealing with the issue, wants to send out a clear message that they will not be bullied by any faction of the party.
However, unrelenting members of the Reddy faction, who are currently in Bengaluru, will soon head to Delhi to lobby with the party top brass again.