Meet to pick Yeddyurappa’s successor put off indefinitely (Lead)

July 29th, 2011 - 7:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, July 29 (IANS) The much-awaited meeting of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators to elect a new leader has been postponed indefinitely due to the growing rift within party ranks over the replacement of scam-hit Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

The meeting was to be held Friday evening but has now been indefinitely postponed, a party spokesperson said. “The party observers will decide the meeting only after Yeddyurappa submits his resignation,” the spokesperson told IANS here.

The decision to put off the lawmakers’ meeting was taken by the party’s state unit in consultation with senior leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh who arrived here to preside over the meeting as the party’s high command observers.

On a day of swift developments, cracks appeared in the party’s rank and file as many loyalists, including ministers and legislators, came out in support of Yeddyurappa and rapped Karnataka Lokayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Reddy for indicting him in the multi-crore mining scam in the state.

The party’s Lok Sabha member from Bangalore North constituency, D.B. Chandra Gowda, tainted Housing Minister V. Somanna and Excise Minister Renukacharya told reporters there was no need for leadership change, as the ombudsman’s report was “biased and politically motivated”.

Yeddyurappa has sought time till Sunday to resign after the “inauspicious” Hindu month of Ashada that began July 2 ends Saturday.

Meanwhile, groups of legislators met separately at ministers’ bungalows or plush hotels in the city to push for their favourite to become the party’s second chief minister in three years in Karnataka, the only state the BJP is ruling in south India.

Since returning from New Delhi early Thursday, Yeddyurappa has not stirred out of his official residence but been inviting groups of legislators, ministers and parliament members to firm up plan to retain hold on the party affairs in the state.

A group of 14 party MPs also decided to oppose Yeddyurappa’s removal following Hegde recommendation for his trial in the massive illegal mining scandal.

“We will convey to our central leaders that Yeddyurappa should continue as chief minister and his resignation should not be accepted,” Gowda told reporters.

Gowda was among the over 50 legislators, ministers and MPs who had a breakfast meeting with Yeddyuappa. Former BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu, a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, and general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan, in-charge of party affairs in the state, have been meeting legislators, ministers and MPs since Thursday for their views on the new leader.

The exercise began soon after the BJP parliamentary board announced in Delhi Thursday morning that it has directed Yeddyurappa to resign immediately following Hegde’s indictment.

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