Yediyurappa bets on completing term in Karnataka

Bengaluru: Unfazed by the Opposition criticism of his three-month-old government on many fronts, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday claimed he would complete his term with the “blessings” of the ruling BJP’s national leadership.

“I am confident of completing my tenure in office over the next three-and-a-half-years (42 months), as I have been given a free hand by our party leadership in governing the state,” Yediyruappa told reporters at a ‘meet the press’ programme here ahead of completing 100 days in the office on November 2.

Denying differences between him and his cabinet colleagues or the party’s state unit leaders, the 76-year-old four-time Chief Minister said all were united in the common cause of serving the people.

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“Our party’s high command nor the Union government complained about me or my style of working as efforts are on to provide relief to the flood-hit people and complete development projects across the state,” asserted Yediyurappa.

To continue in power till May 2023 when the five-year term of the state legislative assembly ends, the Chief Minister said the party’s present priority is to win the by-elections in 15 assembly seats, scheduled on December 5 with vote count on December 9.

“We are focused on flood relief works, implementing programmes and winning all the upcoming by-polls to ensure the government’s survival with a simple majority”, reiterated Yediyurappa.

In the 225-member assembly, including one nominated, the strength of the lower house has been reduced to 208 after the 14 rebel Congress and 3 Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) legislators resigned from their seats and disqualified by former speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar under the anti-defection law.

The BJP has 105 members and the support of an Independent H. Nagaesh, who is also Excise Minister in the 18-member cabinet.

The BJP will have to win 8 of the 15 bypolls to reach the 113-half-way mark for a simple majority in the full House of 225 members.

The BJP is waiting for the Supreme Court verdict on the disqualified members’ appeal against the former Speaker’s ruling.

The ruling party is mulling to field the rebels in the bypolls if the apex court quashes their disqualification.

“The party is obliged to reward the rebels who gave up their assembly seats for their own reasons, but facilitated the BJP’s return to power in the state for the second time in this assembly term,” party’s state unit spokesman G. Madhusudana told IANS.

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