Ballot to pick Yeddyurappa successor if no consensus (Lead)

August 2nd, 2011 - 11:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, Aug 2 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party may opt for “secret ballot” to choose outgoing chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s successor Wednesday if no consensus candidate emerges, a senior party leader indicated Tuesday.

“Election of the new leader by secret ballot is also possible,” state BJP president K.S. Eshwarappa told reporters as the 120 legislators remained divided.

One group is backing Lok Sabha member from Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency D.V. Sadananda Gowda and another is pitching for Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar.

Ahead of the legislature party meeting to pick the new leader, Yeddyurappa moved the high court to “nullify” the Lokayukta report. He also petitioned the Lokayukta to reconsider the recommendation to try him for graft.

The high court is likely to hear the petition Wednesday.

The appeal to Lokayukta will be taken up by Shivaraj Patil, who takes over from Hegde Wednesday. Hegde’s five-year term ended Tuesday.

Yeddurappa Tuesday sought to remove the impression that he is insisting on Gowda so that he can wield real power to run the government.

“I do not want to be the super chief minister,” he told reporters.

Later Tuesday he claimed “I will return as chief minister in six months”. He made the claim at a farewell tea party he hosted for senior civil and police officials.

Late Tuesday, senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh arrived in Bangalore to continue the efforts to find a consensus candidate for chief minister.

Another senior leader Arun Jaitley was expected later Tuesday.

The two had tried for over two days from Friday afternoon to break the impasse.

But the two groups were not relenting forcing the party to put off to Aug 3 the legislature wing meeting that was to be held Sunday, soon after Yeddyurappa quit.

Gowda is being backed by Yeddyurappa and his supporters.

Shettar has the support of Eshwarappa and party general secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar, who is the Lok Sabha member from Bangalore South.

The legislators belonging to the two groups are holed up in two star-hotels in Bangalore, holding meetings amongst themselves and with their leaders.

Yeddyurappa’s group is claiming the support of over 70 of the 120 party legislators in the 225-member assembly which has one nominated member.

“We have the support of over 70 assembly members to elect Sadananda Gowda and he will be chosen tomorrow (Wednesday),” Excise Minister and Yeddyurappa loyalist M.P. Renukacharya told reporters at Chancery Pavilion, a star-hotel.

The group backing Gowda has been staying in this hotel on the busy Residence Road in city centre since Sunday.

This claim is being contested by legislators backing Shettar. They are holed up in the Lalit Ashok, another star-hotel, about five km away.

Medical Education Minister S.A. Ramdas, identified with the Eshwarappa-Ananth Kumar group, told reporters that the new leader of the legislature party would be selected on the basis of the opinion of all the legislators and the “party high command”.

“We are all bound by the decision of the high command,” he told reporters.

BJP general secretary and in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka, Dharmendra Pradhan has been meeting Yeddyurappa, Eshwarappa, Ananth Kumar, Gowda, Shettar and legislators separately to arrive at a consensus.

He has been at this exercise since Thursday, hours after the BJP parliamentary board told Yeddyurappa to quit immediately.

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