Hectic parleys in Karnataka BJP for new leader

August 1st, 2011 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, Aug 1 (IANS) Hectic parleys resumed Monday in the faction-ridden Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka to pick a new leader a day after scam-hit B.S. Yeddyurappa resigned as the party’s first chief minister in south India.

With the BJP high command setting Wednesday (Aug 3) as the D-Day for the legislature party meeting to elect the new leader, the Yeddyurappa faction is harping on Lok Sabha member D.V. Sadananda Gowda, while the rival faction headed by party general secretary Ananth Kumar is backing Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar for the top post.

“The party’s legislators are holding discussions with their leaders and cadres for a consensus candidate. Efforts are on to resolve the differences between the factions for a unanimous choice. We hope all the legislators and leaders will cooperate,” the party’s state unit president K.S. Eshwarappa told reporters here.

Though party’s central observers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh left for New Delhi late Sunday after failing to resolve the deadlock, Dharmendra Pradhan, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in the state, held talks with Kumar, Eshwarappa, Shettar and scores of lawmakers at a star hotel in the city to seek their opinion.

At the same time, Yeddyurappa’s supporters, including Higher Education Minister V.S. Acharya, Excise Minister Renukacharya and Housing Minister V. Somanna met at the former’s residence and decided to rope in more legislators to back Gowda, who represents the Chickmaglur-Udupi parliamentary constituency, about 400 km from here.

“There is no change in our stand. We want Gowda to be the next chief minister, as he is the choice of our leader (Yeddyurappa). We hope other legislators will also support him,” Renukacharya said.

Claiming majority support to Gowda, the Yeddyurappa faction has decided to camp its 40-50 odd legislators at a posh resort on the city outskirts to prevent poaching by the rival faction, which is backing Shettar, who represents Hubli assembly segment, about 400 km from here.

Clarifying that he was not in the contest as he was not an aspirant to the top post, Eshwarappa said as the party’s state unit president he would hold talks with both factions to explore for a consensus candidate.

“We are confident of resolving the differences to form the new government as the people have given the ruling party mandate to govern for five years. We still have another 22 months to go before the next assembly elections. The opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular, which have been trying to break our party will not succeed. They have to wait till 2013,” Eshwarappa asserted.

According to Home Minister R. Ashoka, the rival factions are being wooed with an offer of a deputy chief minister post for electing the new leader.

In the 225-member state legislative assembly, the ruling BJP has 120 members, including speaker, while the Congress has 71, the JD-S 26, six are Independents, one nominated member and one seat is vacant.

The BJP will require 113 for a simple majority to win a confidence motion when it forms its second government in the state.

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