With the merger of B.S. Yeddyurappa-led KJP boosting the BJP’s tally, the party’s former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar was on Thursday recognised as the opposition leader in the House by Speaker Kagodu Thimappa.
Mr. Thimappa’s announcement came a day after he had recognised the merger of Karnataka Janata Paksha with four MLAs into BJP with 40 members, boosting its tally to 44 in the 224-member Assembly.
JDS’ former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, son of former Prime Minister H.D. Devegowda, whose party has 40 members, has yielded his status to Mr. Shettar. Though both BJP and JDS had 40 members, Mr. Gowda’s party was recognised as the principal opposition earlier based on its higher vote share.
Mr. Thimappa had on Wednesday accepted the merger under the relevant anti-defection law based on letters from leaders of both BJP and KJP, as well as from four MLAs of Mr. Yeddyurappa’s outfit.
Four MLAs – Mr. Yeddyurappa, Mr. U.B. Banakar, Mr. Gurupadappa Nagmarpalli and MR. Vishwanath Patil — followed in Mr. Yeddyurappa’s footsteps. However, two other KJP MLAs Mr. B R Patil and Mr. Guru Patil refused to follow suit, despite having good relations with the Lingayat strongman.
With Lok Sabha polls just months away, both BJP and KJP had recently merged, a little more than a year after Mr. Yeddyurappa had parted company with his parent party with his removal as Chief Minister in July 2012 over Lokayukta findings on illegal mining triggering his exit.
Battered in the May 8 Assembly polls which saw the downfall of its first ever government in the South, BJP is hoping to revive its fortunes in the general election following the merger.