Trouble grew for Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa with a group of about 20 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs including ministers raising a banner of revolt on Tuesday in a fresh bout of dissidence, even as the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular tried to corner him over a series of land scam allegations.
The dissident activity by a section of the ruling BJP came on a day when Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj submitted a report to President Pratibha Patil on alleged irregularities in payment of compensation to land owners by the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board.
"I have taken note of the various controversies on the KIADB scam. I have informed the central government about it and submitted a report to President Patil, a copy of which has also gone to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh," Bhardwaj told media-persons in Bengaluru.
An emergency cabinet meeting is also being held on Wednesday to take stock of the situation.
Led by Karnataka Excise Minister M P Renukacharya, the dissident group comprised disgruntled legislators, who either failed to get ministerial berths or are unhappy with the recent cabinet recast or those eyeing key posts in boards and corporations.
Yeddyurappa was closeted with BJP's Karnataka unit president K S Eshwarappa, ministers loyal to him and also met senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh functionaries and discussed steps to deal with the situation. The dissidents, who are set to be away in Tamil Nadu, had switched-off their cellphones and remained incommunicado, as desperate attempts were made to reach them.
The Chief Minister however said a while ago that there was no crisis and all the MLAs who were in the resort would return to Bengaluru tonight and the issue will be resolved." We will see what can be done, but I am confident that they will return tonight and speak with me today itself," the Karnataka CM said.
The CM is obviously worried over the latest development and has sent Home Minister R Ashok as an emissary to pacify the revolting MLAs. Ashok is accompanied by B Shriramulu who belongs to the Janardhan Reddy camp.
Eshwarappa chose to put up a brave front, brushing aside suggestions of dissident activities. "There is no dissidence, it's only rumour,'' he said. He, however, admitted that some legislators who did not get ministerial berths are dissatisfied and discussions will be held with them. The government was not facing instability, Eshwarappa said.
The fresh dissident activity came even as the BJP's first government in south faced land scam allegations in the recent days as a spirited opposition, the Congress and the JDS, tried to corner Yeddyurappa and Karnataka minister for Information Technology, Biotechnology and Housing Katta Subramanya Naidu.
Eshwarappa said an emergency cabinet meeting will be held at 10 am on Wednesday. He also ruled out any move now against Naidu, facing allegations relating to denotifying of land of KIADB when he was the industries minister, saying action will be taken only if charges were proved by court and he was named by Lokayukta.
Meanwhile, JD-S leaders under the leadership of state unit president and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, held a meeting in the backdrop of the dissident activity in the BJP.
Talking to reporters separately, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and Congress leader Siddaramaiah called Yeddyurappa a "liar" and "irresponsible" and likened his cabinet to "Ali Baba and 40 thieves", in the context of land scam allegations against the government.
"If the chief minister has an iota of respect, he should quit immediately," Siddaramaiah said.
With PTI inputs