The differences in the ruling Karnataka BJP have reached a flashpoint with the Yeddyurappa camp threatening to convene a parallel legislature party meeting and declare Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar legislature party leader. This will happen if the party fails to hold an official legislature party meeting before June 22 to initiate the process of appointing Mr. Shettar Chief Minister, warns the rebel camp.
The rebels, including several ministers and legislators, who met at the residence of Public Works Minister C. M. Udasi here on Tuesday, adopted a resolution demanding that Chief Minister D. V. Sadananda Gowda be replaced by Mr. Shettar.
The rebels are said to be considering the option of asking the ministers in their ranks to quit in a bid to build pressure on the party leadership if it fails to conform to the June 22 ultimatum.
These sudden developments have surprised party workers as only recently did the former Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, declare that he would work unitedly with BJP leaders.
Sources in the BJP linked these developments to the fact that the party organisation itself was thinking of replacing Mr. Gowda by Mr. Shettar, a Lingayat, in a bid to retain that community’s support in the coming Assembly elections. This option was being considered as part of the strategy to look for a leader who could lead the party to victory in the elections in the absence of Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is mired in corruption cases.
The BJP thinks that Mr. Yeddyurappa may try to retain his hold on the Lingayats, himself taking up the cause of Mr. Shettar.
In another development, Mr. Yeddyurappa’s supporters launched a tirade against Mr. Gowda and publicly accused him of deceiving their leader.
Interestingly, the rebel camp too witnessed differences, with some MLAs expressing dissatisfaction over the manner in which their leaders were conducting themselves without bothering about the party’s image. They are learnt to have asked their leaders to sort out the leadership issue through consultations with top leaders instead of indulging in a war of words.