BJP waits for Yeddyurappa to go; new leader Sunday (Night Lead)

July 30th, 2011 - 10:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, July 30 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is confident its scam-tainted Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa would resign Sunday, paving way for election of a new leader and formation of its second government in the southern state.

“The exercise to have a consensus candidate to succeed Yeddyurappa will be completed by Sunday afternoon. The state’s legislature party will meet to elect a new leader soon after the chief minister resigns,” state Home Minister R. Ashoka told reporters here Saturday.

The party’s parliamentary board Thursday directed the chief minister to resign following his indictment by Karnataka Lokayukta (ombudsman) Justice (retd) N. Santosh Hegde in the multi-crore mining scam in the state.

With the 68-year-old Yeddyurappa reiterating that he would submit resignation to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj Sunday afternoon, the party’s two observers Arun Jaitely and Rajnath Singh were throughout the day seeking the opinion of the legislators individually for choosing the new leader.

“About 90 percent of our legislators met the observers and gave their opinion on their choice of the new leader. After the remaining members meet them by Sunday morning, we will have a clear picture on who should be named for unanimous election,” Ashoka said.

Though the observers and the state party leaders refrained from naming the contenders for the top post, party sources told IANS that state Irrigation Minister Jagdish Shettar, Higher Education Minister V.S. Acharya, the party’s state unit president K.S. Eshwarappa and Lok Sabha member from Udupi-Chickmaglur D.V Sadanand Gowda were in the race for the chief minister’s chair.

While the exercise to elicit views of lawmakers was in full swing at a star hotel where the two observers are camping since Friday, speculation was rife at the chief minister’s official residence that a deeply hurt Yeddyurappa was plotting to split the party with the support of about 40-50 legislators and thwart the formation of next BJP government in the state.

“Wait and see! After resigning, Yeddyurappa may announce floating a regional outfit in the name of ‘Karnataka Janata Party’ (KJP) by defying the BJP leadership. To avoid the embarrassment of being expelled, he may walk out of the party along with his die-hard loyalists and vocal supporters,” a party source close to Yeddyurappa told IANS but declined to be identified.

After he failed to get any assurance till late Friday from the party’s high command on letting him pick his successor, or have a say in the formation of the new ministry, and appoint him as the party’s state unit president, a dejected Yeddyurappa met Jaitley and Singh earlier in the day and conveyed that he would abide by the leadership’s decision to quit and make way for his successor.

“As per the decision taken by the senior leaders of the party’s parliamentary board (Thursday), I will resign from the chief minister’s post Sunday afternoon,” Yeddyurappa said in a statement from his official residence.

In contrast to the defiant stand taken by Yeddyurappa’s die-hard supporters, including a dozen ministers and about 40 lawmakers against the change of leadership till late Friday, some of them like Infrastructure Development Minister G. Jananardhana Reddy, Health Minister B. Sriramulu and Excise Minister M.P. Renukacharya changed the tune Saturday and agreed to abide by the decision of the party’s high command.

“Though we are still with Yeddyurappa and want him to continue as the chief minister, we will abide by whatever decision he would take in line with the directive of the party’s high command,” Reddy and Renukacharya told reporters here.

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