BJP stuck with Yeddyurappa’s stiff conditions to quit (Night Lead)

July 29th, 2011 - 10:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, July 29 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday tried without success to make Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa quit over graft charges, but he seemed laying stiff conditions to comply with the party directive.

Senior leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley met him for over half an hour at the chief minister’s official residence here to get to him to quit first and then discuss his future role in the party.

However, the 68-year-old Yeddyurappa, the first BJP chief minister in south India, chose to flaunt his support before them, with scores of people shouting slogans for retaining him in the post and party legislators asserting “there is no question of changing Yeddyurappa”.

The conditions, as given out by his supporters, are that he will pick his successor, decide the ministry’s composition, lead the party in next assembly polls due in 2013, and return as chief minister if the BJP wins.

Singh and Jaitley were equally under pressure from opponents of Yeddyurappa to act swiftly and decisively to resolve the issue of his successor as otherwise the party’s image would take a further beating in the state.

Faced with a recalcitrant Yeddyurappa and no consensus on the successor, the legislature party meeting scheduled for Friday evening was put off indefinitely.

The lingering crisis came in handy for the Congress to attack the BJP. In New Delhi, its spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi mocked at the party, saying Yeddyurappa appeared to be dictating terms to quit.

The effort to find a successor to Yeddyurappa began late Thursday, a few hours after the BJP parliamentary board met in New Delhi and “unanimously” decided to ask the chief minister to resign.

The marching orders came a day after state Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde recommended Yeddyurappa’s prosecution for graft in the huge illegal mining scam.

BJP general secretary and in-charge of Karnataka party affairs Dharmendra Pradhan has been holding meetings with groups of legislators and ministers from Thursday evening. Late Thursday, former BJP president and Rajya Sabha member from the state M.Venkaiah Naidu joined him in the exercise.

Both state and central BJP leaders were confident Thursday that Yeddyurappa will obey the party’s dictates. However, only late Thursday, over 12 hours after the directive, Yeddyurappa said he would quit July 31.

Singh and Jaitley have reportedly told the legislators who met them at Yeddyurappa’s residence that they would be here for two more days and meet them individually to know their views on who should be the new chief minister.

“The two leaders said they are here for two more days and will hear the views of each legislator before taking a decision,” Yelahanka (north Bangalore) legislator S.R. Vishwanath told reporters at Yeddyurappa’s residence.

Another legislator, B.P. Harish claimed that 75 of the 121 assembly members were supporting Yeddyurappa’s continuation as the chief minister. The assembly has 225 members, including one nominated.

Yeddyurappa saw Singh and Jaitley off after the over half hour meeting. This was the first time he stepped out in public since Thursday morning’s party directive to resign immediately.

Singh and Jaitley are now apparently waiting for instructions from party president Nitin Gadkari on further steps to resolve the crisis.

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