They convince State leaders to visit Delhi to plead his case

In a sudden development, key members in the rebel Bharatiya Janata Party leader B.S. Yeddyurappa’s camp approached the party leadership on Friday night and requested them to initiate efforts to retain their leader in the party and convince him to drop his plans to join the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) on December 10.

Urged by Mr. Yeddyurappa’s trusted lieutenants and Ministers Umesh V. Katti and Basavaraj Bommai, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok held consultations with Mr. Yeddyurappa on Friday night.

“Mr. Yeddyurappa, who has been going hammer and tongs against the party, was surprisingly in a sober mood. He said he does not have anything against the party State leaders and that his anger was only towards the central leaders for not keeping their promise of appointing him as party State president. Though he said he was firm on his decision to quit the party, there was no negative reaction from him when we told him to keep the door open for negotiations with the party leadership,” highly placed sources in the BJP said.

Delhi meet

Encouraged by Mr. Yeddyurappa’s softened stand, the State leaders have decided to visit Delhi on October 30 to consult with national president Nitin Gadkari and others to retain Mr. Yeddyurappa in the party.

BJP State president K.S. Eshwarappa confirmed the scheduling of a meeting between the State and central leaders of the party in Delhi to reporters at the sidelines of a meeting of the BJP National SC Morcha office-bearers in Bangalore. He seemed confident that Mr. Yeddyurappa would not quit the BJP.

According to a BJP senior leader, the central leadership may agree to offer the campaign committee chairman’s post to Mr. Yeddyurappa. The BJP central leadership, which has set its eyes firmly on the next parliamentary polls, may not mind ignoring Mr. Yeddyurappa’s outbursts in a bid to win maximum number of Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka, he said.

Dilemma continues

The key members of Mr. Yeddyurappa’s camp approached the party leadership after holding two rounds of talks among various members of the camp on Friday. Mr. Yeddyurappa has instructed them to publicly identify with his new political outfit, but continue to be Ministers in the government and MLAs of the BJP. This had not gone down well with a majority of the members of his camp. Many of them are in a dilemma as resigning from the BJP would earn them the wrath of the Lingayats and people from north Karnataka for toppling the government headed by Mr. Shettar, who is a Lingayat from north Karnataka. At the same time, continuing in the BJP after identifying with the KJP would make them a laughing stock, sources said.

Several of the members from the Yeddyurappa camp are learnt to have individually told the party leadership that they are not keen on following their leader to the new party. Three prominent Lingayat seers are said to have expressed their dissatisfaction with Mr. Yeddyurappa’s decision to quit the party.

‘Decision firm’

Meanwhile, Mr. Yeddyurappa told reporters that he would quit the BJP. “I have come too far to change my decision,” he said, adding, however, that he would not bring down the Jagadish Shettar government.

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