M A I N   N E W S

Stage set for Shettar to be Karnataka CM
Formal decision expected today after Gowda-Gadkari meet
Anita Katyal/TNS

New Delhi, July 7
Unable to resist the pressure mounted by former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, the BJP leadership is expected to accept his demand that his nominee and fellow Lingayat, Jagadish Shettar replace present CM Sadananda Gowda.

The BJP core committee had a meeting at party president Nitin Gadkari’s residence this morning where it decided that Gowda would make way for Shettar. Gowda, who was summoned to Delhi, was locked in a marathon session with veteran leader LK Advani and leaders of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley this evening to work out a compromise formula to accommodate the two warring factions.

Emerging from the meeting, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said a formal decision on the change of leadership is expected to be made tomorrow after Gowda meets Gadkari.

Sources said Shettar could be sworn in well before July 16, the opening day of the Assembly session. The party leadership initially wanted to maintain the status quo till after the July 19 Presidential election. However, the Yeddyurappa camp insisted on a leadership change before the Assembly session and even threatened to cross vote in the presidential election if their demand was not accepted within the stipulated time frame.

In order to provide him a face saver, it is being proposed that Gowda, who is a Vokkilaga, may be appointed president of the Karnataka party unit. The other option is to move him to Delhi by giving him a Rajya Sabha seat. The present state party chief K.S. Eshwarappa, who belongs to the Kuruba community, may be made deputy chief minister as part of the party’s efforts to maintain the delicate caste balance in the state.

The crisis in Karantaka came to a head when nine ministers, owing allegiance to the former chief minister, submitted their resignation to press their demand for Gowda’s exit. They were persuaded to retract only after the BJP central leadership assured them that their demand would be looked at sympathetically.

BJP sources admitted the party had little option as it could not afford to alienate Yeddyurappa, who continues to command the support of the influential Lingayat community, which had won the BJP its first government in the South. The BJP is keen end the ongoing factional battle in Karnataka with Assembly elections due next year.

Cong wants fresh elections

The Congress slammed the BJP and demanded fresh elections in Karnataka, stating that a change of guard will not end the “governance paralysis”. "Bringing in a new Chief Minister is no solution for Karnataka. The only solution for the state is to dissolve the Assembly and go for fresh elections, as there is a continuous governance paralysis in the BJP-ruled state," said AICC general secretary BK Hariprasad, who hails from Karnataka.





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