BJP to announce Yeddyurappa successor Sunday afternoon

July 31st, 2011 - 11:34 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, July 31 (IANS) The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka will Sunday announce the new chief minister of the state to succeed B.S. Yeddyurappa, set to resign for his alleged involvement in the mining scandal, following the party directive.

The selection comes after three days of hard bargaining between BJP leaders and Yeddyurappa.

The successor of the 68-year-old Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa will be the 20th chief minister of the state. With the assembly set to expire in May 2013, the new incumbent will have only 22 months to prove his mettle.

The first BJP chief minister in south India is leaving the post reluctantly. Yeddyurappa said Saturday: “As per the decision taken by the senior leaders of the party’s parliamentary board, I will resign from the chief minister’s post Sunday afternoon.”

The board’s marching orders came Thursday, a day after Lokayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde recommended his trial for graft in the massive illegal iron ore mining scam that has heavily bled the national exchequer.

Since Friday, former BJP president Rajnath Singh and party leader in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had been talking to Yeddyurappa, parliamentary members, legislators and state party leaders to decide BJP’s second chief minister in the state in just over three years.

They met Yeddyurappa twice - Friday and Saturday - to make him quit without setting terms. His supporters revealed Yeddyurappa’s conditions would give him absolute control over the party and the new government.

Interesting to know will the role BJP will assign to Yeddyurappa and what he would do if he is given less powers than sought.

The parliament session will begin Monday. So the BJP would want to get over the Karnataka crisis Sunday to take on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government over corruption.

Among the probable names for the next chief minister are of Lok Sahba member from Udupi-Chikmagalur seat D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Karnataka rural development minister Jagadish Shettar, higher education minister V.S. Acharya and state BJP president K.S. Eshwarappa.

Yeddyurappa assumed office May 30, 2008 after leading the party to win 110 seats, three less than the absolute majority figure of 113. He mustered majority roping in five Independents who were made cabinet ministers as reward.

Later he, apparently with the blessings of the party, lured several Congress and Janata Dal-secular (JD-S) legislators to quit the assembly and win the by-polls on BJP ticket to muster majority for the party on its own.

Now the party has 121 members, including the speaker, in the 225-member assembly. The Congress has 71, JD-S 26, Independents six and one is a nominated member to represent the minority Anglo-Indian community.

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