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Oct 08, 2010 at 09:49am IST

Proxy war: Rebel MLAs return to Yeddy fold

Bangalore: The Karnataka government, it seems, could finally survive the crisis after a late night drama on Thursday at a Goa hotel following which rebel BJP MLAs have indicated that they'll return to the Yeddyurappa fold.

Twelve rebels MLAs holed up at the Taj Exotica in Goa held the key to the Yeddyurappa government remaining in majority in the Karnataka Vidhan Soudha.

Rebel leader Renukacharya told a local TV station that they'll all go back to the BJP fold. But JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy who met the rebels insisted that they're still on his side. The BJP, meanwhile, accused Goa's congress government of holding the rebel MLAs captive - former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar and other BJP supporters stormed the hotel. Karnataka minister G Janardhana Reddy who was troubleshooting for Yeddyurappa was not so lucky as he was stopped at the gates. According to some reports, the rebels will make their stand clear on Friday.

All these developments took place in rapid succession after the Gowda family, which engineered the revolt, started getting desperate after the Congress high command in Delhi refused to back the JDS.

The proxy war for control in Karnataka has on one side the powerful Bellary brothers, considered the moneybags of the BJP government in the state. On the other side are H D Kumaraswamy, former Chief Minister and son of JDS boss H D Deve Gowda.

Both sides are resourceful and have been trying to poach MLAs from each other. And caught in the middle of the battle is Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa. Desperate to save his government, he is now relying on the monetary clout of the Reddy brothers to bail his government out. G Janardhana Reddy said: “We will sort it out.”

The worried CM spent the whole of Thursday at a temple in Kerala seeking divine intervention leaving the job of protecting his government to the Reddys. Kumaraswamy, who seemed to have gained an upper hand just 24 hours ago, is not sounding very confident now. H D Kumaraswamy said: “Everything is very confusing. Nobody knows what is happening.”

Both sides are wooing these BJP and independent MLAs, who in the last 48 hours have been moving from one hotel to another, keeping everyone guessing.

Without the support of these MLAs, the Yeddyurappa government would be a minority. But what could save the BJP government is the Congress's unwillingness to form an alternate government with the help of the Gowdas. Congress spokesperson Janardhana Dwivedi said: “We are not interested.”

This is not the first of such a crisis, which governments in Karnataka have seen in the past five years. As money power dominates politics, MLAs have become available to the highest bidder, putting the future of the Yeddyurappa government at risk.

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