BELAGAVI: Just a day after the Karnataka BJP government got itself half a cabinet, it finds itself on a sticky wicket, with veteran legislator Umesh Katti giving the party an ultimatum to set things in order within two days. He not only accused the BJP top leadership of targeting him intentionally by denying him a cabinet berth, but also made his intent clear that he would reorganise the Janata Party, from where he had started his political career.
Sources said a group of disgruntled BJP senior leaders, some of whom are from the erstwhile Janata Party, including Katti and Jarkiholi, are of the opinion that they could quit the BJP and rebuild the Janata Party.
Indicating that he would quit his seat, Katti is said to have given Yediyurappa a two-day ultimatum. Sources said Katti was in touch with several top BJP leaders who are also upset with the cabinet formation, to announce his next course of action.
Katti and Balachandra Jarkiholi could cause damage to the government if the BJP fails to work out a compromise formula with them in the next two days. MLAs Abhay Patil and Anand Mamani are also upset with their exclusion.Soon after holding discussions with Umesh Katti on Wednesday, senior JDS leader Basavaraj Horatti told TNIE that Katti was extremely upset that he was denied a cabinet berth, and was looking at other options.
“After my talk with Katti, I’m sure that he is going to take some drastic steps soon. If political parties continue to neglect loyal and senior leaders like us, we must take drastic measures,’’ said Horatti. Katti has spoken to at least six sulking leaders of the BJP and looking to unite them against the party, he added.
The BJP had assured Katti he would be included in the cabinet after denying his brother Ramesh Katti a ticket in the Lok Sabha election. “How can I face Ramesh now, when the party has not inducted me into the cabinet? I am also answerable to the people of my constituency,’’ said Katti.
According to sources, Katti held talks with several sulking BJP seniors in Bengaluru on Wednesday, before leaving for Belagavi. Given the way he has been openly hurling abuses at the top BJP leadership, it is clear that he will not stay with party for much longer. He said it was not possible for any party to suppress him politically and that he was just 59 and was looking at staying in politics for another 10 years. Asked if he would quit, he said, “Today I am an MLA of the BJP. I don’t what will happen after some time.”
Modi, Shah want all to fall in line
Eight-time legislator Umesh Katti has directly blamed the top BJP leadership in New Delhi for denying him a cabinet berth. “The BJP leadership intentionally denied me the cabinet seat. It is pure politics against me. The party’s top leaders, like Amit Shah and Narendra Modi, are checking whether whatever they say will be accepted by all. There is no question of me being intimidated by them. They think that all BJP leaders should quietly listen to them.” He was upset that the party had ignored his seniority and eight victories in the assembly elections.
“If I have committed any mistake, the party should have corrected me. Or it should have asked me to mend my ways. As a senior leader, I am not in a position to ask the party to include me in the cabinet,” he said. The BJP leaders in Delhi are testing whether their thinking and attitude will work here, he said. “Already, CM BS Yediyurappa is listening to whatever Modi and Shah say, and they are keen to make all party leaders fall in line. But we are not ready to listen to them. If they force us to listen to them, it is impossible,’’ Katti said.