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K’taka BJP rebels set July 5 deadline for CM’s ouster
Shubhadeep Choudhury/TNS

Bangalore, July 1
The rebel faction of the Karnataka BJP today set July 5 deadline for the party’s central leadership to effect a change of leadership in the state government and threatened to disobey the party’s diktat on the presidential elections if its demand was not met.

“A deadline has been set and if by this time, the issue is not resolved, we shall decide what we do with regard to the presidential election,” BJ Puttaswamy, legislative council member (MLC) and a close confidante of former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, said.

Yeddy’s flip-flop

l BJP rebels claimed that over 55 MLAs, 15 MLCs and eight MPs attended the meeting at place of Jagadish Shettar’s, the contender for the CM’s post

l The party has 120 members in the 225-member Karnataka Assembly

l Last July, rebel leader Yeddyurappa had opposed Shettar’s candidature and was instrumental in making Sadananda Gowda, a member of the Vokkaliga caste, CM

l Both Yeddyurappa and Shettar belong to the influential Lingayat community and he had wanted to prevent the emergence of another important community leader in the party 

Mukherjee arrived in Bangalore today as part of his campaign for the presidential poll and addressed party functionaries at the KPCC office here. JD (S) leader and former Prime Minister Deve Gowda also earlier announced that legislators from his party would vote for the UPA’s nominee.

The Karnataka BJP rebel faction is using the presidential election on July 19 to put pressure on the party’s central leadership to effect a change of leadership in the state. Incumbent Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda’s lack of command over the MLAs was also evident during the elections of MLCs by the MLAs last month when 12 BJP MLAs had cross-voted.

Earlier today, Lok Sabha members from the state, MLAs and MLCs met at the residence of Jagadish Shettar, the contender for the Chief Minister’s position, in a show of strength.

Yeddyurappa, while playing the central role in the rebellion against Sadananda Gowda, has preferred to don the role of a backroom operator rather than becoming the public face of the revolt.

The former chief minister, who belongs to the politically influential Lingayat community, was instrumental in making Sadananda Gowda, a member of the Vokkaliga caste, the Chief Minister when he was forced to quit the office last July following his indictment by the Lokayukta in the report on illegal iron ore mining in Karnataka.

Yeddyurappa, who had then opposed the candidature of Jagadish Shettar to prevent the emergence of another important Lingayat leader within the BJP, has now returned to back Shettar to scuttle the tenure of Gowda, accused of being hand in glove with the JD(s), which has a strong following among members of the Vokkaliga caste.

“We have unanimously decided to appeal to the high command to make Shettar the Chief Minister,” Raju Gowda, who was among the nine ministers who recently quit to protest against Gowda’s continuance as the chief minister, told reporters while speaking for the rebels. “We are confident that a good decision will come by July 5. If it does not, we will meet and take an important decision,” he added.





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