Bangalore, Oct 6: Karnataka governor H R Bharadwaj cracked the whip on Wednesday by directing chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to prove his majority on or before October 12 inside the Assembly.
Bharadwaj took this step after 19 rebel MLAs submitted letters withdrawing support to the BJP Government.
According to a communication from the Governor's office, Bhardwaj today received letters from 14 BJP and five independent MLAs, withdrawing their support to the government.
Taking into consideration the letters, the Governor "has requested the chief minister to prove that he still continues to command the support of the majority of members of the legislative Assembly by introducing and getting passed a suitable motion expressing confidence in the government, in the Assembly on or before October 12 by 5 pm," it said.
The MLAs who have withdrawn their support included seven ministers in the government, the communication said.
Four of the ministers -- D Sudhakar, Venkataramanappa, Narendra Swamy and Shivaraj Tangadagi -- were later dropped on the advice of the chief minister, it said.
The other ministers who withdrew their support are M P Renukacharya (Excise), Gopalakrishna Beluru and Anand Asnotikar (Fisheries and Ports) and Balachandra Jarkiholi (Municipalities and Local Bodies).
In the evening, Karnataka Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy airdashed to Chennai to hold parleys with dissident MLAs.
Earlier Yeddyurappa warned rebel MLAs that he would seek their disqualification from Assembly if they "failed" to take back by this evening the letter submitted to Governor H R Bhardwaj withdrawing support to his government.
The warning came from Yeddyurappa minutes after 20 MLAs -- 15 of the ruling BJP and five independents -- submitted a letter to Governor H R Bhardwaj declaring withdrawal of support in fast paced political developments which threatened the stability of the maiden BJP government in the South.
"Some MLAs have met Bhardwaj and submitted him a letter withdrawing support to the government. Probably they are not aware of the Supreme Court ruling (on disqualification). As per the apex court order, they cannot contest polls for six years," he said.
"If they want to show their face to their voters in their constituencies and continue as MLAs, they should withdraw the letter, otherwise, we will take disciplinary action," he told a press conference after an emergency cabinet meeting.
A beleaguered Yeddyurappa, accompanied by several of his ministerial colleagues, also sought to send an indirect message to the Governor against acting on the MLAs letter, saying, "The trial of strength should be held on the Floor of the House."
"At an appropriate time, I will prove my majority. People of the state need not have apprehension over this," he said.
Earlier in the day, Yeddyurappa sacked four independent ministers who helped him form the government in 2008 after it fell short of majority for aligning with dissidents.
P M Narendraswamy, S Venkataramanappa, Shivaraj Tangadagi and D Sudharaka, who had won as independents and inducted into the ministry for supporting the BJP government, were dismissed by the Governor on the recommendations of the Chief Minister, according to a Raj Bhavan notification.
Last week, Yeddyurappa dropped Goolihatti Shekar, another independent, from the ministry.
"Some MLAs have already pledged to return to me. By this evening a clear picture will emerge," he said, indicating that efforts were on to win back the rebels who are gunning for his ouster.
He appealed to his party men to allow him to complete his five-year term. PTI