Bangalore: The ruling BJP in Karnataka was hit by a fresh crisis after nine ministers offered to quit on Sunday in support of party strongman BS Yeddyurappa for leadership change amid indications the former chief minister was mulling quitting the state Assembly, sources said.
Amid reports that Yeddyurappa could also force a split in the party, the four-year-old BJP government faced a major threat when nine ministers handed over to him their letters of resignation addressed to Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, in a sudden development apparently in protest against the latter complaining against them to the party high command.
Meanwhile, Gowda is due to arrive in Delhi today to hold consultations with the central leadership on the ongoing crisis, as per reports. Nonetheless, he had said yesterday that he was coming to the national capital to attend the 60th year celebrations of the Indian Parliament and not for any political reasons.
The development capped day-long consultation process held at Yeddyurappa`s residence with his loyalist ministers and MLAs on Saturday.
Ministers Basavaraj Bommai, Murugesh Nirani, V Somanna, Umesh Katti, CM Udasi, MP Renukacharya, Shobba Karandlaje and Raju Gowda submitted their resignation letters to Yeddyurappa, authorising the former chief minister to take a call.
A minister who is closely associated with the activities of dissidents headed by Yeddyurappa said that at least 15 MLAs have also submitted letters addressed to the Assembly Speaker KG Bopaiah that they are ready to resign from their Assembly membership.
Yeddyurappa, who was overwhelmed by the support by ministers and MLAs, told them at the meeting held at his Race Course residence that in the event of their resignation, he would also quit his Assembly membership and a decision would be taken on the issue by Monday.
The BJP central leadership spoke to Yeddyurappa yesterday and asked
him not to precipitate the crisis but the Lingayat community strongman refused to budge and continued consultations on his future political moves with his confidant legislators.
The fresh crisis for the first-ever BJP government in the South came a day after the Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe against Yeddyurappa in connection with donations received by a trust owned and managed by his family members by mining companies and certain instances of denotification of land in "violation" of rules when he was the chief minister.
Yeddyurappa, who has been gunning for the ouster of Sadananda Gowda he had propelled to the post of the chief minister after the BJP central leadership had forced him to quit in July last year, has shot off two letters to the chief minister with signatures of 38 MLAs seeking convening of an emergent legislature party meeting.
But Gowda has rejected the call saying "there is no need for such a meeting".
Yeddyurappa loyalists have been seeking the legislature party meeting to debate on a complaint sent by Sadananda Gowda and state unit party President K S Eswarappa to BJP President Nitin Gadkari demanding action against ministers who have identified themselves with Yeddyurappa and to check their "anti-party" activities.
Sources close to Yeddyurappa said some of the MLAs suggested to the former chief minister to quit BJP as the party has humiliated him. However, Yeddyurappa refused to react to such demands.
Meanwhile, Gowda said he has not received any resignation letter by any minister.
The Assembly Elections are due next year.
Yeddyurappa and his supporters were irked by the fact
that none of the party`s central leaders rallied behind him.
"Even the chief minister who shared the dais with Yeddyurappa at a function in Nanjangud, did not speak to their leader for courtesy sake", a leader who refused to be named said.
The Yeddyurappa camp is pushing for Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar, who belongs to Lingayat community, for chief ministership. Ironically, Shettar was the man whom the Yeddyurappa camp had defeated in the election held to legislature party leader in August last year which Gowda won.
The BJP high command is not in favour of re-instating Yeddyurappa at this juncture as he would be facing CBI probe into illegal mining issue.
(With PTI inputs)