Bowing to the continuous pressure from former Karnataka chief minister (CM) B S Yeddy-urappa, the central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced present chief minister Sadananda Gowda had given his resignation to party president Nitin Gadkari and would be replaced by Jagadish Shettar, state cabinet minister.
Yeddyurappa had opposed appointing Shettar as the CM in August last year, when he had to resign from the top post because of several corruption charges in mining and illegal land allotment cases, Yeddyurappa had asked the BJP leadership to appoint Gowda as the CM.
“In view of the current political situation in Karnataka, Sadananda Gowda has handed over his resignation to me. In his tenure, he did work and the performance of our government was very good. There were no complaints against him on grounds of corruption but keeping the party’s interest in mind, as a good party worker, he has resigned in the interest of the organisation,” said Nitin Gadkari, soon after accepting the resignation.
Interestingly, though central leadership has announced Shettar as the next chief minister, the party is sending Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Rajnath Singh, former BJP President, to Bangalore to meet all Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and discuss the ongoing political battle within the party in the state.
Jaitley and Singh are expected to convene a legislative party meeting and announce the name of Shettar as the chief minister. Gowda is scheduled to meet Karnataka Governor H R Bharadwaj tomorrow and give his resignation to him.
Gowda, who belongs to the Vokkaliga community, was earlier a Yeddyurappa loyalist which had made him a candidate for the top post. But the differences then started between the two leaders and Yeddyurappa had recently alleged Gowda was working for opposition parties in the state and didn’t enjoy the support of MLAs.
Yeddyurappa has again managed to arm-twist the BJP’s central leadership, as he belongs to the dominant lingayat community, which has at least 18 per cent vote share in the state. Also, the former CM has the support of 65 of the 121 BJP MLA’s in the state assembly.
The BJP leadership in Delhi is divided on the change as L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar didn’t want to replace Gowda while Gadkari was convinced on the replacement if the BJP wanted to keep all its MLAs together.