Sadananda Gowda to be BJP’s new Karnataka chief minister (Second Lead)

August 3rd, 2011 - 6:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, Aug 3 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP D.V. Sadananda Gowda will be the new chief minister of Karnataka after he was elected the BJP legislature party leader, defeating Jagdish Shettar narrowly in secret ballot amid high drama that exposed cracks in the ruling party.

Gowda got 63 votes and Shettar 55 as 118 legislators took part in the voting to decide who would succeed the scam-tainted B.S. Yeddyurappa, who quit after being indicated for corruption by the Karnataka ombudsman.

The voting took place in a luxury hotel after a stormy two-hour meeting of the legislators. Speaker K.G. Bopaiah and a nominated member did not vote.

“As there was no consensus on a new leader, party’s observers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh told chief whip Jeevaraj to hold a secret ballot,” a BJP source told IANS.

As Gowda, 58 and said to be a Yeddyurappa confidant, is not member of the state assembly, he will have to get elected to the house or get nominated to the council within six months.

Gowda, a two-time legislator and a two-time MP, belongs to the powerful Vokkaliga community while Shettar, 56, is from the dominant Lingayat community.

Gowda, who represents the BJP in the Lok Sabha from Udupi-Chickmaglur constituency, about 400 km from here, will be the ruling party’s second chief minister in the state and southern India.

Yeddyurappa resigned as the BJP’s first chief minister in south India Sunday following his indictment by the Lokayukta in the multi-crore mining scam.

Gowda was backed by the Yeddyurappa faction while Shettar had the support of the rival faction headed by the party’s Bangalore South Lok Sabha member Ananth Kumar and party’s state president K.S. Eshwarappa.

Yeddyurappa is already facing five cases of corruption and illegal land deals filed by two Bangalore advocates after Governor H.R. Bharadwaj permitted prosecution of the former chief minister.

On July 28, the BJP parliamentary board met in New Delhi and “unanimously” decided that Yeddyurappa should go at the earliest. Party leaders said he was damaging the BJP’s image.

But Yeddyurappa held on with the support of his loyalists until the BJP warned that he and his supporters would be expelled from the party.

Even before he submitted his resignation Sunday, the party began trying to find out a successor. Here too it encountered unexpected resistance for consensus.

Rajnath Singh and Jaitley, who tried but failed to to bring about a consensus, left for New Delhi late Sunday. They returned to Bangalore late Tuesday for Wednesday’s showdown between the rival groups.

Eventaully, Yeddyurappa threw his weight behind Gowda. The outgoing chief minister also wanted to be named the state BJP president but the party did not agree.

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