BJP in a dilemma whether to concede his demand on choice

B.S.Yeddyurappa on Sunday resigned as the Chief Minister of Karnataka after putting up a stiff resistance for five days. A meeting to choose his successor is now scheduled for August 3.

His resignation has not brought any comfort to the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership as he has demanded that his nominee (D.V. Sadananda Gowda) be appointed in his place, and he himself be made State party president.

Given the sustained pressure from Mr. Yeddyurappa and the strength of legislators in his camp, the two central observers — former president Rajnath Singh and the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley — who were in Bangalore for three days to ensure a smooth transition of power and wanted to leave for New Delhi by the evening, delayed their departure for detailed consultations although they had elicited the opinion of the legislators on their choice of leader on Saturday.

Handling Mr. Yeddyurappa has turned out to be a tough challenge for the leadership. Sources close to Mr. Yeddyurappa claimed that it has been agreed that Mr. Sadananda Gowda will be the next chief minister (following the late-night discussions) and that the State will also have a deputy Chief Minister —Jagadish Shettar or incumbent state president K.S. Eshwarappa.

That Mr. Yeddyurappa and his followers, who comprise among others a large number of legislators and members of parliament, are in a defiant and rebellious mood was evident through Sunday, with even the formal meeting with Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to submit the resignation being marked by unprecedented drama and considerable delay.

Earlier in the day, addressing a public rally which was organised by the Balija community to felicitate him, Mr. Yeddyurappa attempted to drive home the point that he was being made an accused although it was he who had sought to rein in the large-scale illegal mining of iron ore.

It is the first time in the history of the State that an outgoing chief minister staged a padayatra to the Raj Bhavan, along with a large number of his supporters, including legislators to submit his resignation.

It was a show of strength to drive home the point that Mr Yeddyurappa continues to command majority and that he cannot be brushed aside.

Interestingly, mining baron G. Janardhana Reddy joined the padayatra to indicate that his legislator-followers too had joined the Yeddyurappa bandwagon.

Soon after the receipt of the resignation letter by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, the Raj Bhavan issued a notification that it had been accepted. Mr. Yeddyurappa has been asked to hold charge until an alternative arrangement is put in place. The Governor will also be sending a report to the Union government on the political developments in the State.

The general opinion is that the BJP leadership has to handle the Karnataka crisis deftly, failing which the BJP legislature party in the State will split.

The 13th Assembly still has another 22 months to go for completion of its term and the BJP has a commanding strength of 121 members in the 224-member House.

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