With Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa now reconciled to the fact of his demitting office in the wake of an indictment by the Karnataka Lokayukta on illegal mining, the Bharatiya Janata Party will commence the process of finding a new chief minister on Friday. The party's central leadership has decided to elicit the views of all party legislators in selecting Mr. Yeddyurappa's successor.
Sources close to the Chief Minister said discussions were continuing and that it might take time since Mr. Yeddyurappa's camp was keen on a consensus for a candidate of its choice. Those in contention are party MPs — D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Ananth Kumar — and Ministers V.S. Acharya, Jagadish Shettar and R. Ashok. All-out efforts are being made to prevent any rebellion within the party and ensure that the BJP continues to govern the State for the remaining 22 months of the 13th Legislative Assembly.
While Mr. Shettar (who, during the revolt in the party in November 2010, was tipped by the Reddy brothers to take over as Chief Minister), Mr. Ananth Kumar and Mr. Ashok all belong to one camp, Mr. Sadananda Gowda, who has not been a Minister so far, is a camp follower of Mr. Yeddyurappa. It is stated that the Chief Minister is keen on taking legal recourse against the Lokayukta for indicting him and in case he is exonerated he would like to take charge of the government again.
Mr. Yeddyurappa did not submit his resignation letter to the Governor by the evening deadline (Thursday) given by the party's national leadership and has reportedly conveyed that he will quit on July 31 as the next two days are inauspicious (according to him). July 31 is the first day of the month of Sravana as per lunar Hindu calendar.
Legislature Party meet
A meeting of the BJP Legislature Party has been called for Friday and contrary to norms, wherein the Legislature Party leader (the Chief Minister) summons the meeting, in the present scenario, reflective of the confusion that prevails in the party, the high command has instructed for calling the meeting.
The former BJP president, Rajnath Singh, and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley are scheduled to chair the meeting, wherein the choice of the legislators will be first elicited.
Governor holds talks
Governor H.R. Bhardwaj held consultations with legal experts on the steps to be taken on the Lokayukta report, which has called upon the head of the State to initiate criminal proceedings.
Through the day (after arrival from New Delhi in the early hours), Mr. Yeddyurappa remained indoors and out of bounds, holding consultations with some close confidantes comprising a few Ministers and some legislators. The Reddy brothers too were busy holding discussions with legislators from Bellary and the adjoining Koppal and Raichur districts. For a consensus candidate to emerge, the Reddy brothers and the Yeddyurappa camp have to see eye to eye along with the participation of the Ananth Kumar camp followers and that of State BJP president K.S. Eshwarappa.