Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Karnataka crisis: Yeddyurappa to meet Reddy brothers in Delhi

NEW DELHI: Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said on Thursday that he would meet Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders as well as the
dissident Reddy brothers, both of whom are ministers, in a bid to resolve the intensifying political crisis in the state.

"I will be meeting the Reddys today (Thursday)... Will hold talks with the national leaders," Yeddyurappa, the BJP's first chief minister in south India, told reporters.

He arrived here Wednesday night for talks with the party's leadership.

The dissidents, led by tourism minister G Janardhana Reddy and his elder brother and revenue minister G Karunakara Reddy, have rejected the plea of party president Rajnath Singh and senior leader LK Advani to allow Yeddyurappa to continue as chief minister.

The Reddys stuck to their demand on Wednesday after the third round of talks with senior leader Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi.

The Reddy brothers are billionaire iron ore mine owners and claim the support of over 70 of the 117 party legislators in the 225-member state assembly. Janardhana Reddy discounted the possibility of his meeting with Yeddyurappa in the presence of Swaraj Thursday.

The BJP leadership has been holding hectic deliberations in New Delhi with both factions over the past three days to end the differences that are threatening to bring down the party's first government in the south.

In the May 2008 polls, the BJP won 110 of the 224 elected seats in the 225-member assembly. It formed the government with the help of six independents, five of whom have been rewarded with ministership. The Reddys are believed to have won over the Independents using their financial clout.

Later, the Reddys also lured more than half a dozen Congress and Janata Dal-Secular legislators to the BJP.

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