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|October 24, 1999||
Violence exposes fissures in Karnataka BJP
A group of Bharatiya Janata Party workers supporting senior politician B B Shivappa threw stones in front of the BJP office in Bangalore today in protest against the election of Jagadish S Shettar as leader of the party's legislature wing. Several policemen and three journalists covering the meeting were injured.
While some workers hurled stones at the party office building, nearby houses and passing vehicles, others barged into the office and damaged furniture and lights.
The police, who were present in large numbers, chased away the miscreants and brought the situation under control.
Hundreds of supporters of Shivappa, who unsuccessfully contested the post, raised slogans against state party chief B S Yediyurappa and Union Sports Minister Ananth Kumar.
An uneasy calm had prevailed in the area since morning even as various politicians began arriving for the meeting. The trouble began when Shivappa emerged from the meeting and reported that he could not get elected.
Shivappa termed the election "a drama". Yediyurappa has hijacked the party for his own gains and lured the MLAs today, he alleged.
Later, at a hurriedly called press conference, he demanded that Yediyurappa and M Venkaiah Naidu, general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, be replaced. But he said he would not quit the party.
Shivappa said he was not responsible for the violence after the meeting, and accused "some prominent leaders" in the state unit, who are out to "finish me politically", of provoking it to tarnish his name.
Venkaiah Naidu said a proper inquiry would be held into the incident and the miscreants would be dealt with sternly. He termed the incident unfortunate and condemnable.
Naidu said the allegation that the legislators were "lured" amounted to insulting them. But he denied that factionalism had crept into the party. He also evaded a question on whether disciplinary action would be initiated against Shivappa.
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