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Rediff.com  » News » K'taka: Reddy faction to put forth more demands to avert crisis

K'taka: Reddy faction to put forth more demands to avert crisis

October 29, 2009 16:32 IST

Even as the crisis widens in the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka, the party faction headed by Bellary mining tycoons Reddy brothers -- consisting of state tourism minister G Janardhana Reddy and revenue minister G Karunakara Reddy -- has put forth a fresh list of demands. The Reddy brothers want a major reshuffle in the Karnataka cabinet and are expected to place this demand before senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, later on Thursday evening.

The Reddy brothers have stated that they should be given the home or industries portfolio in the state cabinet. They have also sought for the removal of cabinet ministers Shobha Karandlaje and Basavaraj Bommai.

However, this would be a tough call for Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, since he would face a rebellion within his camp if he were to give into their demands.

Further, sources said that the Reddy brothers have stated that their man Sriramulu be given a different portfolio. Sriramulu currently holds the health portfolio.

Earlier in the day, Sriramulu had addressed a public gathering at Gadag, in which he said that this would be his last speech as a minister. However, he later retracted that statement and said that his decision would be subject to the meeting to be held with Jaitley later on Thursday evening.

The Reddy brothers are also trying to get senior leader and speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly Jagadish Shettar into their fold.

Shettar, who has been speaking out against the CM, has however maintained a distance from the Reddy camp. The Reddy faction has demanded that Shettar be made a minister in the cabinet.

However, Shettar, who is a key to this resolve the crisis, has been maintaining a non-controversial stance. There are rumours that Yedyurappa has offered him the post of deputy chief minister. The Shettar camp is however non-committal about this demand, and maintain that he would not have accepted the post even if he was offered it.

For the CM, Shettar would be a key player since there are more chances of his government falling if Shettar moves to the Reddy camp. The Reddy faction, with 15 MLAs, and the Shettar faction with 30 MLAs, are capable of pulling down Yeddyurappa.

However, the BJP high command has stood firm with Yeddyurappa and has maintained that there is no question of a change in leadership. Senior leaders Ananth Kumar and Arun Jaitley are expected to meet with the Reddy faction and also Shettar in the evening to iron out the differences.

However, at the moment all efforts are on to call back Janardhan Reddy, who is camping in Hyderabad along with 15 MLAs in a bid to prevent any move by the CM to woo his loyalists.

Sources say that Reddy is expected to land in Bengaluru any moment now and will be part of the talks with the party high command.

Vicky Nanjappa in Mumbai