Jaitley and Pradhan elicit views of party leaders in Bangalore

The Bharatiya Janata Party began the process of selection of its new State president on Saturday with party national general secretaries Arun Jaitley and Dharmendhra Pradhan holding individual consultations with members of the State core committee, district in-charge leaders and presidential aspirants to elicit their views.

Mr. Jaitley and Mr. Pradhan, who came to Bangalore on Friday night, met aspirants — the former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, MPs Nalin Kumar Kateel and Pralhad Joshi, Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok and Minister Govind Karjol — on Saturday.

Though a core committee meeting was held later, the State’s presidential appointment did not figure in it.

The scene has now shifted to Delhi as the two Central leaders left for the capital after daylong consultations. They will finalise the name of the new State chief in consultations with party national president Rajnath Singh. According to sources, the Central leadership is likely to announce the name of the new president by Monday evening.

Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa, who quit as State president in tune with the one-man-one-post norm of the party, told reporters that the process of selection of new chief would be completed by next week.

Meanwhile, several district in-charge leaders are learnt to have expressed their preference for Mr. Kateel, Mr. Joshi or Mr. Sadananda Gowda, while others have suggested that Mr. Eshwarappa himself be asked to continue as State president till the Assembly elections.

Mr. Eshwarappa said the meeting of the core committee had analysed the party’s likely performance in the urban local body elections the results of which will be announced on Monday.

Based on the inputs provided by the party district units, the core committee had expressed confidence that the party’s tally would increase compared with the previous polls.

The core committee had also decided to hold a meeting of prominent party leaders on February 15 and 16 to decide the party’s strategy for the forthcoming Assembly elections, including the nature of the campaign to be launched by it.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and party national general secretary Ananth Kumar were among several other top leaders who were consulted by Mr. Jatiley.

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