Belgaum, Karnataka: Karnataka's ruling BJP faces a tough assembly session from Wednesday as it stares at a split in its ranks following its former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa's decision to quit the party to lead his own outfit.
Ahead of the six-day session in this north Karnataka city, about 500 km from Bangalore, Yeddyurappa dared his former party to take action against ministers and legislators who might attend the formal launch of his party 9 December.
"If action is taken against ministers and legislators supporting me this (Jagadish Shettar) government will fall in 24 hours," he warned while talking to reporters in Holalkere in Chitradurga district, about 230 km north of Bangalore.
The former chief minister is to take over as president of the Karnataka Janata Party at a public meeting on 9 December at Haveri, about 150 km from Belgaum and 400km from Bangalore.
He has been claiming support of around 70 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators, including several ministers. The BJP has 119 members in the 225-member assembly and 44 in the 75-member legislative council.
On Sunday, Yeddyurappa said he expected all the 70 supporters to attend the Haveri meet.
Already five assembly members, four council members and two of party's 19 Lok Sabha members, one of who is his son BY Raghavendra, have been openly assisting Yeddyurappa in the preparation for the Haveri rally.
The BJP has refrained from taking action against them, particularly assembly members, in view of the session.
It wants to wait till 9 December to see how many party legislators, including ministers, attend the Haveri rally and then act.
The ruling party's problems would give enough ammunition to opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) to hammer the Shettar government in the session.
They have been attacking it over failure to protect the state's interest in Cauvery water sharing row, in tackling severe drought and inability to find a solution to persisting garbage problem in Bangalore.
The two parties have also been talking of moving a no-confidence motion but a final decision is to be taken on Wednesday by the parties' legislature wing.
The Congress has 71 members and the JD-S 26 in the assembly. There are seven Independents, one of who supports BJP and is a minister. One seat is vacant.
The assembly's term expires in May, 2013.
Shettar has been saying he is confident of his government lasting till then, inspite of speculation that the ruling party may go for immediate dissolution of the house if a significant number of party legislators attend the Dec 9 rally of Yeddyurappa.