The Bharatiya Janata Party is keen to ensure that the likely replacement of Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, once the Lokayukta report on illegal mining is submitted, does not destabilise the government.

Party president Nitin Gadkari said at a news conference that Mr. Yeddyurappa would abide by the directive of the leadership on his future. Senior party leaders here rule out the possibility of defiance by the Chief Minister.

Mr. Gadkari is believed to have requested senior leaders close to the Chief Minister to work out a strategy in consultation with Mr. Yeddyurappa for a smooth transition.

The party is conscious of the reality that Mr. Yeddyurappa has not only the support of the majority of the party legislators but also the full backing of the influential Lingayat community. “Mr. Yeddyurappa would have a major say on his successor. After all, he has assiduously built the party and paved the way for the first BJP government in Karnataka,” a senior leader said.

Mr. Yeddyurappa is expected to be here later in the week for discussions with the central leadership on the contents of the Lokayukta report and what should follow.

The BJP leaders here concede that once the report is official, the party will have little option but to find a replacemen. It will be seen as a test case for the party as it has been engaged in a high pitch campaign against the UPA government over the issue of corruption. With the monsoon session of Parliament less than a week way, the party could ill afford to ignore the Lokayukta indictment. A series of allegations against the Karnataka government in the past few months has undermined the party's campaign against the Manmohan Singh-led government.

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