Bangalore: Former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa on Sunday denied meeting Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley and remained firm on launching his own party even as the BJP seemed reluctant to let go of him. Yeddyurappa had announced he would quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and launch his own outfit, Karnataka Janata Party, on December 9.
He told reporters in Bangalore that he "respects" Jaitley but "the question of meeting him or going back on the decision to launch a new party does not arise". This is the second time in over a month that Yeddyurappa avoided meeting Jaitley. The BJP leader was in Bangalore in October first week but Yeddyurappa went away to his home district Shimoga, about 280 km north of Bangalore, instead of meeting Jaitley.
Yeddyurappa asserted that there was "no change in the plan to launch a new party on December 9, irrespective of whether anyone (a reference to ministers and BJP legislators supporting him) will be with me or not on that day". Though almost half of ministers in Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar's 34-member cabinet are Yeddyurappa loyalists, it is not clear how many would follow him to the new party.
As a show of strength, Yeddyurappa had hosted a lunch in Bangalore on November 6, which was attended by about 40 of the BJP's 119 assembly members, including 10 ministers and several BJP Lok Sabha and state legislative council members. "I am out of the BJP 99 per cent. There is no going back," said the former chief minister, who is upset over what he claims as "betrayal" by BJP president Nitin Gadkari in not making him the state BJP chief "as promised" within 24 hours of his resigning as chief minister.
Gadkari has been battered by allegations of corruption in various companies run by him. Yeddyurappa had said that he would quit the party and assembly membership on December 9 and launch Karnataka Janata Party that day at Haveri, 350 km north of Bangalore. To prevent ministers and BJP legislators from attending the Haveri meeting, the Shettar government has convened a nine-day assembly session on December 5 at Belgaum, 400 km north of Bangalore.