Leadership crisis festers in BJP in Karnataka

The BJP government in Karnataka seemed headed for a fresh trouble, as speculation persisted over change of leadership of DV Sadananda Gowda.

Updated: Jun 28, 2012, 23:50 PM IST

Bangalore: The BJP government in Karnataka today seemed headed for a fresh trouble, as speculation persisted over change of leadership of Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda with the rebel camp piling up pressure for it.

Gowda had planned a sudden visit to Delhi today to meet the party`s central leaders in the wake of a renewed bid by the BS Yeddyurappa faction seeking his scalp.

"As a Chief Minister, going to Delhi can`t be questioned by anybody. At present I have got certain works in Delhi. So I need to go there", Gowda said but dismissed reports of change of leadership, saying there had been "speculation" ever since the party came to power in the State. "It continues".

But minutes later, the Chief Minister cancelled the trip after the party leadership let it be known that there is no need for him to come to the capital, party sources said.

His hopes of regaining chief ministership having been dashed by the party central leadership which has asked to come clean in corruption cases, Yeddyurappa is propping up the candidature of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar to replace Gowda.

A section of the MLAs is also strongly backing Gowda, warning that replacing him would lead to their resignation and they would bring down the Government.

Showcasing the achievements of the first-ever BJP government in the South for the last four years, Gowda released a book titled "Four Years of All Embracing Development" at the press conference.

Keeping up their pressure, ministers and MLAs loyal to Yeddyurappa met at the residence of Shettar to take stock of the developments and discussed their future course.

Meanwhile, BJP in-charge of Karnataka affairs Dharmendra
Pradhan cancelled his visit here after central leadership took into account a section of anti-Yeddyurappa group threatening to pull down the state government if Gowda was replaced.

Party sources said the central party leadership did not want to aggravate the political crisis in the state as it was preoccupied with the Presidential elections.

Party sources said Gowda may visit Delhi in the next two days in the light of Yeddyurappa loyalists setting June 30 deadline to convene the BJP legislature party meeting to discuss leadership issue.

The BJP state president KS Eshwarappa, a member of the backward caste Kuruba community, has also queered the pitch by lobbying with the Yeddyurappa group for their support to make him the Chief Minister instead of Shettar.

Party sources said, Eshwarappa has planned a pilgrimage to Kedarnath with his family and on his way would halt at Delhi and hold talks with party`s central leadership.