Karnataka BJP dissidents set July 5 deadline for CM’s ouster

July 1st, 2012 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, July 1 (IANS) Dissidents in Karnataka’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday set a July 5 deadline for the party’s central leadership to remove Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda.

“We will wait till July 5 for our high command to remove Gowda and make (Rural Development Minister) Jagadish Shettar chief minister,” a dissident leader told reporters after a meeting here.

“The high command will be responsible for developments in the state unit after July 5 if it does not accept our demand,” BJP Lok Sabha member Suresh Angadi said after the dissidents’ meeting at Shettar’s residence here.

“We decided to give time till July 5 to our high command. We will announce highly significant moves after that if our demand is not accepted,” said Small Scale Industries Minister Raju Gowda, one of the nine ministers who submitted their resignations Friday.

The “significant moves”, party sources said, would include dissidents seeking separate seats in the assembly which meets July 16 to pass the budget for 2012-13 fiscal and holding “a meeting of the party’s legislature wing to elect Shettar as the new leader”.

Only a chief minister can call the meeting of the legislature wing as he/she is also its leader.

The new deadline was set even as BJP emissary Dharmendra Pradhan rounded off his “peace mission” Sunday morning with an appeal to the nine ministers to withdraw the resignations to allow the party high command to decide on their demand.

Pradhan, general secretary in charge of the party’s Karnataka affairs, arrived here Saturday following the resignation of nine ministers, but apparently his efforts for a patch-up have not borne any result.

Late Saturday he said, “We are inching towards a solution.” But the dissidents’ move Sunday showed that the leadership tussle plaguing the party for the past six months has only worsened.

Pradhan’s appeal to the nine ministers to take back their resignations came after he met state Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders here Sunday morning before flying back to Delhi.

The dissidents released a list of 51 party assembly members, including the nine ministers, 13 legislative council members and eight members of parliament who attended the Sunday meeting at Shettar’s residence.

The ministers who have submitted their resignations are Shettar, Raju Gowda, Basavaraj Bommai (water resources), C.M. Udasi (public works), Murugesh Nirani (industries), V. Somanna (housing), Umesh Katti (agriculture), Revu Naik Belamagi (libraries and animal husbandry), and M.P. Renukacharya (excise).

All the dissidents are loyalists of former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa who is orchestrating the move against Gowda, whom he had chosen as his successor chief minister last July. The two have since fallen out.

Yeddyurappa had opposed Shettar taking over from him and propped up Gowda. With his efforts to return as chief minister halted by the Central Bureau of Investigation probe into mining bribery charges against him, the former chief minister is now backing Shettar against Gowda.

In the 225-member assembly, whose five-year term ends next May, BJP has 120 members, the Congress 71, Janata Dal (Secular) 26 and Independents seven. One is a nominated member.

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