The search for a solution to the impasse in the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka has now shifted to Delhi, with key players scheduled to move to the capital on Saturday to meet the party’s central leadership. While Assembly Speaker Jagadish Shettar and the dissident camp controlled by the three Ministers from Bellary have been invited to Delhi for further discussions, Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa leaves on an official visit to Delhi, where he will meet the party leaders.
BJP’s national general secretary Arun Jaitley, who completed his two-and-half-day consultations with members of both the camps on Friday, sent out a strong message to the dissidents’ camp, ruling out any leadership change. “The government is doing well under the leadership of Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa and so a change is not before us,” he said.
Mr. Jaitley was confident that a solution could be found within the party framework and discipline. But he refused to set a deadline to resolve the crisis. However, sources in the BJP said the party leadership did not want to drag the issue for too long, as it would sully the image of the party government. According to them, a solution would be found in about two to three days.
Interestingly, within minutes of Mr. Jaitley ruling out any leadership change, Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy, the main force in the dissidence camp, reiterated the camp’s demand for a leadership change. “When the head of the family himself is going in the wrong direction, it calls for changing him in the interest of the party and welfare of the State,” he said in Bellary.
Mr. Yeddyurappa refused to respond to any of these questions. He said the party central leadership had asked him to remain silent on party matters and focus on welfare measures and rehabilitation works for the flood victims. He announced that he would dedicate one day in a month for hearing the grievances of party MLAs and MPs.
The dissidents continued to rally around Mr. Shettar in a bid to convince him to emerge as an alternative leader.
While the Chief Minister’s camp claimed it has the support of about 80 party MLAs of a total of 117, the camp sponsoring Mr. Shettar put its support at 55 to 70 legislators.