BJP claims support of five independents, reveals two names (Lead)May 26th, 2008 - 9:31 pm ICT by admin
Bangalore, May 26 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday claimed the support of five independents to cross the halfway mark in the 225-member assembly and to form its government in Karnataka but revealed the names of only two. The other names will be made public Tuesday, a senior leader said. “Two independents, Shivaraj Thangadai and Goolihatti Shekhar, have pledged support and we will tell you (Tuesday) morning the names of three independents supporting us,” BJP chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa told reporters here.
The four other elected independents are Venkataramanappa, Sudhakar, Narendraswamy and Varthur Prakash.
The BJP, which won 110 seats in the staggered election held this month, needs the support of at least three members to reach the figure of 113 to secure a majority in the Karnataka assembly.
Six independents have made it to the assembly, and the BJP is wooing all of them. Four of them are Congress rebels while the other were originally from the BJP and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).
However two of them, Narendraswamy and Varthur Prakash, have pledged support to Congress leader Siddaramaiah, who they said was their mentor. Siddaramaiah, a former deputy chief minister, was elected from Varuna constituency in Mysore.
While Yeddyurappa gave out the names of only two, other BJP leaders claimed that they have a letter of support from one more independent, which gives the party a one- seat majority in the assembly.
Shivraj and Shekhar Monday attended the BJP legislators’ meeting where Yeddyurappa was formally elected the leader enabling him to meet Governor Rameshwar Thakur to stake claim to form the government, which will the party’s first in south India.
BJP leader and mining magnate from the iron-ore rich district of Bellary, G. Karunakara Reddy, played a major role in winning over Thangadai and Shekhar. Reddy drove the two legislators to the party meeting where they were garlanded by Yeddyurappa and party general secretary Arun Jaitely.
Yeddyurappa said: “We have the numbers to form the government and will meet the governor to stake claim.”
He said: “The BJP victory in Karnataka is a turning point in national politics and will help strengthen the (BJP-led) National Democratic Alliance.”
In the absence of a clear majority in the assembly, Yeddyurappa and only a few senior leaders may take oath first and expand the ministry after winning the trust vote on the floor of the house.
In related developments, both the Congress and the JD-S said that they were not making any effort to form a government.
They were reacting to speculation that JD-S chief and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda had offered unconditional support to the Congress if it tried to form a government since the BJP had not got a clear majority.
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