New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) Bowing to pressure from B.S. Yeddyurappa, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Saturday chose Karnataka's Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar to replace Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda.
The decision was taken at the BJP's core committee meeting here, according to BJP sources. But an announcement is expected only after Gowda meets party president Nitin Gadkari and senior leader L.K. Advani.
The change in the leadership of the BJP government in Karnataka, the second since the party came to power in 2008, comes after Yeddyurappa, the former chief minister, brought pressure on the party to get Gowda replaced with Shettar.
After the core committee meet, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said Gowda will meet the party leaders in the evening here after which a formal announcement would be made.
Yeddyurappa had to quit as chief minister July last year after being indicted by the state Lokayukta over a mining scandal and other corruption charges. Gowda was Yeddyurappa's choice then to replace him.
But after the Karnataka High Court struck down the Lokayukta report with respect to its indictment of Yeddyurappa, he had stepped up efforts to get back as the chief minister.
Gowda, who fell out with Yeddyurappa, wanted the central leadership not to take any decision on removing him as chief minister in haste and contended that he had put in his best to give a corruption-free government.
New Delhi: BJP's 'Man of Steel' Relents - Shutter up on Shettar!
Team Mangalorean - New Delhi
from Ravi Kanvatirtha
New Delhi: The adamant stand taken by the BJP's man of steel Lal Kishenchand Advani appeared to have softened late Friday after hectic lobbying by party chief Nitin Gadkari. All this time the grand old man of the party had downed the shutters on the prospects of Shettar becoming the CM.
Gadkari has succeeded in convincing Advani, who was keen on going for fresh assembly polls in Karnataka, that facing the people immediately after the squabble scenario could be suicidal. The electorate was sure to dump the party, he explained. The party with a difference would have the credit of having three chief ministers in four years, which would not go well with the people, it was thought.
Pulling on for a longer time until the elections are due, even if it came to offering Sadananda Gowda as the sacrificial lamb at the altar of opportunism and political expediency, would be the need of the hour, Gadkari is said to have insisted with Advani. With the proverbially short public memory, the voters would have a more lenient attitude towards the party by May 2013 when the elections are due.
Many Karnataka legislators are first-timers. If the assembly is dissolved, they would not qualify for the lifelong pension and other benefits. Hence, they, besides the older crop, are not willing to go for fresh election, it was explained.
Gadkari was asked by Advani for the ground on which Gowda could be unseated. The BJP president had a ready explanation that Gowda did not have enough number of MLAs supporting him, which seemed acceptable to Advani.
Advani reportedly told Gadkari that he had in fact opposed only Yeddyurappa's camp being pampered and had nothing against Shettar. He also wanted an advice to be passed on to Shettar not to keep the BSY camp at a distance and provide good governance to win back the popularity.
Latest reports from Bangalore also said the core committee which was to meet on Friday had arrived at a consensus on Jagadish Shettar.
CM Sadananda Gowda has been reportedly asked to fly to Delhi on Monday for a final briefing. The topmost agenda of the high command seems to be the right post in which Gowda can be rehabilitated after laying down the CM's post. Yeddyurappa's faction appeared to be totally against Gowda taking over as the state president as the latter would have total say in issuing tickets in the coming assembly elections.
To keep the Vokkaliga community happy, home minister R Ashoka is likely to be made deputy chief minister. Where will that leave Eshwarappa? The problem may not come to an end in its entirety.