The selection of a successor to Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa is turning out to be a problem for the Bharatiya Janata Party high command.
The Chief Minister, who agreed to resign following the party central leadership's directions in the wake of the indictment by the Karnataka Lokayukta on illegal mining, is now making a bid for a review of the decision. On Thursday, he sought time till Sunday to resign.
On a day marked by high political drama, the BJP's central observers Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley arrived here on Friday to elicit the opinion of the party legislators and organise a meeting of the legislature party to elect the new leader. The time fixed for the legislature party meeting was repeatedly postponed and eventually it was put off indefinitely.
While one section of the legislators, who included chief ministerial aspirants, called on the central observers, a significant section remained with the Chief Minister at his official residence, demanding that he continue in the post, failing which the BJP should opt for elections.
Authoritative sources in the ruling party told The Hindu that Mr. Yeddyurappa, who has played a key role in building the BJP in the State, had some demands and that he would not relent until these were conceded. As it transpires, the demands relate to Mr. Yeddyurappa's nominee being appointed Chief Minister and he himself being appointed State BJP president. It was also pointed out that Mr. Yeddyurappa had no plan to precipitate matters or float a new party as was being mentioned in certain quarters.
After hearing him out, the central observers decided to consult party president Nitin Gadkari before deciding on the next course of action.
Meanwhile, the oldest of the Reddy brothers, Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy, called on Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to explain to him that “baseless charges” were made against the mining firms of the Bellary Ministers (including B.Sriramulu, who is Health Minister) in the Lokayukta report.
Mr. Karunakara Reddy told TheHindu that the legislators supporting the Bellary Ministers would abide by the high command's decision although they had high respect for Mr. Yeddyurappa. Sources in the Raj Bhavan said the Governor would send a report to the President and the Centre on the developments in the State. He is also perusing the Lokayukta report.