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BJP MLAs from Lingayat community discuss representation in Karnataka govt amid rumours of discord within party over cabinet expansion

Bengaluru: Amid speculations of factionalism in ruling BJP after recent meeting of senior MLAs ‘upset’ over not being inducted into the BS Yediyurappa ministry, more such activities surfaced with another group discussing cabinet representation and a couple of legislators reportedly getting in touch with JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy.

File photo of Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa. PTI

Also, BJP legislators belonging to Panchamasali caste, a sect within the dominant Lingayat community, late Tuesday held a meeting at a city hotel in the presence of a seer, and discussed about the representation of the community in the cabinet, party sources said.

Several legislators are said to have attended the meeting in which they also discussed, among other things, about inclusion of Panchamasali community in the OBC list, and that a senior leader from the community should be made MLC.

A couple of senior BJP legislators upset over not being inducted into the Ministry are said to have reached out to Kumaraswamy on Tuesday night. Though JDS sources confirmed about the MLAs contacting Kumaraswamy, it is not clear what transpired between them.

The activities in the midst of the ongoing assembly session have raised eyebrows within the ruling BJP circles.

Earlier, Minister Jagadish Shettars meeting with senior legislators (mostly from north Karnataka), reportedly upset over being left out in the recent cabinet expansion on Monday had sparked speculation of a revolt within the BJP.

Dismissing the talk of dissidence, he, had maintained a few legislators met him regarding their constituency-related work. According to media reports, eight-time BJP MLA Umesh Katti, who is sore over not being made a minister, and Shankar Patil Munenakoppa were among those who had met Shettar’s at his residence.

The development came even as an unsigned anonymous letter, calling for a change in the leadership citing Yediyurappa’s age and health as the reason was widely circulated in the social media in the past few days. It called for Yediyurappa’s retirement from electoral politics and suggests that he turn “margdarshak” (guide) for the party. Yediyurappa will turn 77 on 27 February.

Amid all this, JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda on Wednesday wished that Yediyurappa government completes its term, as it would provide him time to organise the party for the next assembly polls. “My desire is that Yediyurappa government should remain for about three years and a few months. I want time to build the party. I will never say this government has to go, because time is necessary. If the election happens in six month or one year, we will not be able to gain strength. Time is the major important factor,” Gowda told reporters in Belagavi.


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