Former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Sunday launched his own party and virtually reduced the Jagadish Shettar ministry to a minority as over a dozen of the BJP's 118 assembly members shared the dais with him at the event here.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has threatened to act against party legislators who attend the launch function of the rebel Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), or even attend the breakfast meeting or tea parties hosted by Yeddyurappa loyalists at Haveri.
If the BJP actually carries out the threat, then the Shettar government will have to go as it will not have the majority in the 225-member assembly, that includes one nominated member.
"I just got information that action will be taken against the 14 to 18 legislators on the dais. In that case, I tell Shettar that you do not have majority and hence quit immediately," Yeddyurappa thundered to the applause of a huge crowd at the KJP launch rally in this north Karnataka town, about 350 km from Bangalore.
Apparently angry that the BJP was contemplating action against his supporters in the party, a charged Yeddyurappa said: "I tell Shettar, if you have guts, dissolve the assembly and let us go to the people."
Earlier, ministers C.M. Udasi (public works), Shobha Karandlaje (power), Basavaraj Bommai (water resources), Murugesh Nirani (industries), M.P. Renukacharya (excise) and Revu Naik Belamagi (animal husbandry) attended a breakfast meeting hosted by Yeddyurappa loyalists ahead of a public function here to formally launch the KJP.
Yeddyurappa was present at the breakfast.
Asked about reports that Karandlaje, Bommai and Nirani had offered to quit the ministry, Yeddyurappa told reporters after the breakfast meeting that he has asked all ministers supporting him not to resign.
The 69-year-old leader quit the BJP and the assembly Nov 30 to form and lead the KJP as he was upset at not being made the state BJP chief soon after he quit as chief minister July last over mining bribery charges.
Yeddyurappa took over as the KJP president at the rally.
The KJP will contest all the 224 assembly seats in the polls, due May next, he said.