BANGALORE, July 1:
The crisis in the ruling BJP in Karnataka deepened today with the rebel faction led by B S Yeddyurappa setting a July five deadline for removing Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and replacing him with their nominee Jagadish Shettar.
The Chief Minister will head for Delhi tomorrow for a meeting with the BJP president Nitin Gadkari and other top leaders.
Stepping up the heat two days after two days after nine ministers, loyal to former chief minister Yeddyurappa, quit the Karnataka cabinet, his camp released a list of 51 MLAs who attended today’s meeting held at the residence of Shettar and rallied behind him in a show of strength.
Eight Lok Sabha members from the state and at least 15 MLCs also attended the meeting, Raju Gowda, who was among the ministers who resigned, told reporters.
“We have unanimously decided to appeal to the high- command to make Shettar the Chief Minister,” he said.
“We are confident that a good decision will come by July five. If it does not come (by then), we will meet and take an important decision on July five”, he added.
Those attending the meeting authorised Yeddyurappa and Shettar to take a decision on political developments, saying they will abide by it.
They appealed to the party high-command to call the Legislature Party meeting. Raju Gowda said if it was not done, legislators loyal to Yeddyurappa themselves would convene one.
BJP has sent Dharmendra Pradhan as its emissary here in a bid to mollify the rebels.
For the BJP central leadership, the power struggle in Karnataka has become a big embarrassment. Every time Yeddyurappa has upped the ante, efforts have been made to pacify him but this period is shortlived.
In the 225-member Karnataka Assembly, BJP has a total strength of 120 and Yeddyurappa has been claiming the backing of around 70 MLAs.
Notwithstanding the muscle-flexing by the rebels, BJP sources in Delhi said a change of guard in Karnataka in the near future is unlikely. The party may look into their demand only after the Presidential poll on July 19, they said. For the record, senior leader Rajnath Singh said, “there is no crisis in Karnataka. All the problems will be resolved.”
His party colleague, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also said, “All issues will be resolved.”
Pradhan, who is in-charge of party affairs in Karntaka, appealed to the nine Ministers to withdraw their resignation.
“Their withdrawal will facilitate further talks”, said Pradhan, who also met RSS leaders for their view on the crisis.
He said he would apprise senior party leaders about the Karnataka developments and hoped that “everything would be sorted out” and the crisis resolved. “Appropriate action will be taken at appropriate time”. “There is no question of taking back the resignations. When a new leader will be appointed, automatically he will form the new Cabinet,” insisted Yeddyurappa loyalist and MLA B P Harish, claiming the legislators supporting Yeddyurappa will go beyond 80.
Sanjay Patil, also in the rebel camp, said if Yeddyurappa asks the MLAs to resign, “we will do so. Yeddyurappa is BJP in Karnataka and we aill do anything for him.” Lok Sabha member Suresh C Angadi blamed the party’s central leadership for the crisis, saying he had brought it to the notice of top leaders Gadkari, L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, besides senior leader from the state H N Ananth Kumar but “nobody cares”. (PTI)
BANGALORE, July 1: