Posted On Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 08:42:35 AM
|Jagadish Shettar (right) with senior party leader Rajnath Singh and outgoing chief minister Sadananda Gowda on Tuesday.)
A fresh crisis cropped up for Karnataka’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday after outgoing chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda placed a set of demands in a last-minute counter move against rival B S Yeddyurappa, delaying the legislature party meeting.
The camp of Gowda’s supporters insisted on the party president’s post for him, deputy chief ministership for K S Eshwarappa and half the ministerial berths for the group, and acceptance of their demands before the meeting, as indications emerged that the change of guard would be not be a smooth affair.
With caste polarisation fully evident, the Gowda group, citing ‘social justice’, pushed for key representation to the Vokkaliga community (Sadananda Gowda) and Kurubas Eshwarappa).
Chief minister-designate Jagadish Shettar is from the Lingayat community, counted by the ruling party as its key vote-base.
Asection of the Vokkaliga community has come out in the open, supporting Sadananda Gowda. Ministers and members of the legislative assembly who are loyal to Gowda – including Eshwarappa, Balachandra Jarkiholi and S Suresh Kumar – met at Gowda’s residence, in an apparent show of strength, and showed no signs of going to the legislature party meeting venue.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s central leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh managed a patch-up with the Gowda group that claimed the support of around 50 of the party's 120 lawmakers in the 225-member assembly.
The two senior party leaders were in Bangalore on Tuesday as party observers for the legislature party meeting, which was slated to offer guidance regarding issues of ministry formation.
As for the deputy chief minister's post, Singh said it was the chief minis-ter’s prerogative. Shettar, however, did not give any indication whether he would take oath alone or how many would be sworn in as ministers with him.
"I will decide on all issues after consulting state and national leaders," said Shettar, a four-time assembly member from Hubli rural constituency in north Karnataka. The Yeddyurappa faction turned up for the meeting, slated to begin at 11 am to formally elect Shettar as its leader, paving the way for his appointment as chief minister succeeding Sadananda Gowda.
But things did not go according to the script. Buckling under pressure from Yeddyurappa, the saffron party’s central leadership had on Sunday opted for a change of guard to end the state unit’s leadership tussle.
New CM to take oath on thursday
Chief minister-designate Jagadish Shettar, 56, will take oath on Thursday, said senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajnath Singh. Gowda will submit his resignation to governor H R Bhardwaj on Wednesday and Shettar will follow it up with staking claim to form the new government, he said.