The BJP is unlikely to give in to pressure from the pro-Yeddyurappa group to effect a change of leadership in Karnataka immediately. It has directed Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and the rebel group, led by Minister Jagadish Shettar, projected as the chief ministerial candidate, to concentrate on drought relief work.

Senior party leaders Nitin Gadkari, L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and M. Venkaiah Naidu heard the views of Mr. Gowda on the political developments in the State, and Ms. Swaraj met Mr. Shettar and his group of Ministers here on Tuesday. State BJP president K.S. Eshwarappa was present when Mr. Gowda met the senior leaders.

The two factions were told by the high command that as the Assembly elections in the State were not far off they should concentrate on people’s issues and try to improve the party’s image and ensure that the BJP retained power in Karnataka.

Party general secretary in charge of Karnataka Dharmendra Pradhan told journalists: “We are moving towards a solution. Whatever will be decided will be decided within the party frame.”

Mr. Eshwarappa said the party was hopeful of finding a solution to the current crisis and maintained that any decision taken by the BJP Parliamentary Board would be acceptable to both factions.

The high command is also examining whether Mr. Shettar could be made Deputy Chief Minister to buy peace with the Yeddyurappa camp.

Hijack bid

Bangalore Special Correspondent reports:

What has turned out to be a hitch in the process of leadership change is the alleged effort by Mr. Yeddyurappa to hijack the entire process. “Mr. Yeddyurappa wants to retain his hold on the Lingayat community by projecting himself as the architect of Mr. Shettar’s elevation. This has annoyed the other camp, which thinks that any change in leadership would strengthen the Yeddyurappa camp. We have to take the party leaders as well as Mr. Shettar into confidence before arriving at any decision,” sources said.

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