The Jagadish Shettar government plunged into a crisis once again as Forest Minister C P Yogeshwar and Small Scale Industries Minister Rajugouda resigned from the ministry on Thursday.
Yogeshwar and Rajugouda, who represent Channapatna and Shorapur constituencies respectively, will resign their Assembly membership on Friday and are expected to join the Congress soon. According to sources, the Congress high command has given the green signal for their admission.
If Speaker K G Bopaiah accepts the two resignations, along with those of Vittal Katakadonda and Tarikere Suresh, who had submitted their resignations last month, the strength of the BJP will come down to 104 in the 225-member Assembly.
The number is likely to drop further as seven to eight other MLAs are willing to switch sides. Prominent names doing the rounds include Pratapgouda Patil (Maski), Belur Gopalakrishna (Sagar), J Narasimhaswamy (Doddaballapur), M Narayanaswamy (Bangarpet), H S Shankaralingegowda (Chamaraja), Anand Asnotikar (Karwar) and MLC V Somanna.
Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that the BJP is mulling dissolution of Assembly even before more MLAs resign so that Shettar can continue as caretaker CM till the Assembly elections. Giving credence to the reports, Shettar has called a Cabinet meeting on Monday.
Earlier in the day, Yogeshwar and Rajugouda met Shettar at his official residence ‘Krishna’ and submitted their resignations. Later, they went to the Raj Bhavan to thank Governor H R Bharadwaj for his cooperation.
Both claimed that they had decided to resign keeping in mind their political future. “I had kept both CM and the party president informed about my resignation,” Rajugouda said. They left for Madikeri thinking that Bopaiah was there, but had to return mid-way as they got a message from the Speaker that he was touring Kerala and would return to Bangalore on Monday.
Shettar reportedly took Yogeshwar to task for leaving the BJP at a time of crisis. “We gave you a political rebirth, a plum portfolio and wanted you to emerge as the Vokkaliga face of the party. But you have deceived us,” the Chief Minister told Yogeshwar.