Bangalore: Jagadish Shettar, the Lingayat community leader backed by BS Yeddyurappa, will be formally elected as the BJP legislative party leader on Tuesday to formally replace DV Sadananada Gowda as the state’s new Chief Minister.
Reports, Monday, claimed that the BJP legislative party meeting will be held tomorrow during which party MLAs will endorse the high command’s decision to anoint Shettar as the new chief minister. Shettar is likely to be sworn in on Wednesday.
Senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh will also arrive here this evening to oversee the formal election of Jagadish Shettar as the new Chief Minister.
Former chief minister Gowda, who stepped down from the post on Sunday, is likely to be made the unit president or given a Rajya Sabha seat.
Shettar is said to be close to former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, who insisted that Gowda be removed.
Cornered by a disgruntled Yeddyurappa, the BJP leadership yesterday asked Sadananda Gowda to resign as Karnataka Chief Minister to be replaced by Jagadish Shettar.
Announcing the change of guard, BJP President Nitin Gadkari said, "In view of the current political situation in Karnataka, Sadananda Gowda has handed over his resignation to me. In his tenure, he did good work and the performance of our government was very good.
"There were no complaints against him on grounds of corruption but keeping the party`s interest in mind, as a good party worker, he has resigned," he told reporters in Delhi.
He also announced that he has accepted Gowda`s resignation on behalf of the party.
Asked if Deputy Chief Ministers would also be appointed by the party as was reported earlier, Gadkari said no such decision has been taken on this issue.
Shettar will stake his claim to form the government after Gowda formally submits his resignation to Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj in the next couple of days, the sources said.
He will be the third Chief Minister in the present BJP government which came to power in 2008. Yeddyurappa, who led the party to victory then, had to step down after he was indicted by the Lokayukta in a graft case. Gowda had taken over from him in August last year.
For Shettar, political life has come a full circle in less than a year. In August last year, he lost the contest for chief ministership to Gowda, also hand-picked by Yeddyurappa.
Though Gadkari did not specify the new role of Gowda and maintained his services will be used both at the state and the national level, it is likely that he will be given a Rajya Sabha ticket.
Gowda himself is reportedly not keen on becoming Karnataka unit chief, a post he has held in the past, party sources in Bangalore said.
Gadkari asked the party unit in Karnataka to work closely and give a good result in the Assembly elections. But with the party remaining a divided house in the southern state, it is unclear how long this peace will last.
Interestingly, when Gadkari made the announcement about Gowda`s resignation, the outgoing chief minister was not by his side. Gowda exited from a backdoor at Gadkari`s residence after submitting his resignation to the party chief.
Gadkari was all praise for Gowda, saying he had provided a "good and clean" administration to Karnataka in the 11 months that he was at the helm of affairs.
On his part, Gowda did not show any resentment at being asked to put in his papers, saying he was an "obedient soldier" of the party.
BJP`s decision was slammed by the Congress which dubbed it as a "cosmetic change" and a "victory of corruption". BJP ally JD(U) said the decision was aimed at keeping the BJP vote base intact and the flock together ahead of the Presidential poll.
With PTI Input