The political crisis in Karnataka following differences within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has snowballed into a serious threat to the 10-month-old D.V. Sadananda Gowda government, with the former Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, exerting pressure on the central leadership to meet his demand for a change of leadership.
And, at a public function here on Sunday, Mr. Yeddyurappa came out with a surprising statement: he showered praises on Congress president Sonia Gandhi with reference to the manner in which that party supported its leaders when they faced problems. But in the BJP, leaders were “fixed” with problems in a bid to rout them from politics, he said.
This declaration of Mr. Yeddyurappa indicates that he has taken a tough stand – either the party should yield to his demand or he may even quit with his followers.
It may be noted here that prior to the visit of Ms. Gandhi to Tumkur about a fortnight ago to pay her obeisance to the seer of Sri Siddaganga Mutt, Sri Shivakumar Swami, whose 105th birth day was celebrated in April, there were reports that a senior Congress leader was in touch with Mr. Yeddyurappa.
Sources in the BJP told The Hindu that 70 legislators, including 16 Ministers who had been in Mr. Yeddyurappa's camp for the last several months, have been invited for a crucial meeting on Monday to decide on the future course of action.
Mr. Yeddyurappa calling the shots depends largely on his support base in the legislature party, and the attendance at the meeting will help decide on the next course of action even as several Ministers and legislators have been discussing the pros and cons of the steps that could be initiated.
A Minister associated with Mr. Yeddyurappa told The Hindu: “Mr. Yeddyurappa needs the support of at least 70 legislators to be successful in his pursuit of a change of leadership and the support of at least half that number to bring down the government. He enjoys the support, and there is no doubt.”
Apart from Ministers Shobha Karandlaje, Umesh Katti, Basavaraj Bommai, Murugesh Nirani, C.M. Udasi, M.P. Renukacharya, Raju Gowda and V. Somanna, who have submitted their letters of resignation to Mr. Yeddyurappa, Minister for Animal Husbandry Revu Naik Belamagi will submit his letter on arrival in Bangalore.
Another 15 legislators have reportedly conveyed to Mr. Yeddyurappa that they are ready to resign Assembly membership.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sadananda Gowda left for New Delhi, apparently to discuss with the central leaders various issues, including expansion of his Ministry — there are 11 vacancies, with the Chief Minister himself supervising 22 departments.