New Delhi/Hubli: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is weighing its options in Karnataka after Friday night's meeting between party president Nitin Gadkari and scam-hit Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, who asserted Saturday he will not quit.
BJP sources in New Delhi said the chief minister is expected to meet senior party leader LK Advani as part of efforts to resolve the present "difficulties" caused by allegations of nepotism levelled against him by the opposition. The chief minister is accused of favouring his family with prime land allocation in Bangalore.
Party sources said a decision on Yeddyruppa is expected in the next few days but indicated the beleaguered leader may not be replaced.
The party on Saturday deferred a decision on whether to ask Yeddyurappa to quit or let him stay on in office.
After an over three-hour-long meeting between Yeddyurappa, Karnataka state BJP leaders as well as top party functionaries at the residence of Gadkari, the party said it will hold further discussionsto find a way out.
"The consultation was held by the party president. He will be discussing what he has discussed with them with other senior leaders in Delhi. A decision will be taken by the central leaders of the party after further discussions. As and when we have something to tell you, we will tell you," senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley told reporters after the meeting.
Meanwhile, Yeddyurappa, who reached Hubli after his return from New Delhi on Saturday, said he would not quit. He also told chief ministerial aspirants of his party and those from other parties to wait for two-and-half years more, when elections to the Assembly are due, to realise their aspirations.
"There is nothing wrong in aspiring to be chief minister. But the party came to power under my leadership and it will fight the next elections also under my leadership," the oft-beleagured Yeddyurappa said.
"If after that party leadership decides that someone else should be chief minister, I have no objection," he told reporters in Hubli in north Karnataka.
"I will go back to Delhi on Monday for further talks with party leaders and our Parliament members," said Yeddyurappa.
The BJP's core group had met on Thursday to discuss the developments in the wake of the opposition offensive seeking the chief minister's ouster for land scam.
The state government on Thursday decided to order a probe by a retired Supreme Court judge into all land deals in and around Bangalore in the past ten years.
Ahead of his Delhi visit Friday, Yeddyurappa made his two sons, daughter, sister and her son and daughter-in-law surrender the residential and commercial lands that were allotted to them on priority basis.
According to party sources, though the allegations against the chief minister had created "difficulties" for the party, he may not be replaced.
The sources said that Yeddyruppa continued to be the most popular leader of the party in the state and there was sympathy for him among a section of people who feel he was being targeted by his opponents.
"Removing him at this stage looks a little adventurous," a party leader told a news agency.
He said that a formula is likely to be worked out where Yeddyurappa may be asked to be "more open and transparent in his financial dealings" and take steps to hold proper consultations so that the state unit functions as a team.
According to the party leader, Yeddyurappa was a tall leader of the Lingayat community and choosing an alternative to him was not easy.
"The options for the party for a change of leadership are not easy. The party has to look at the future repercussions of a change," he said.
First Published: Saturday, November 20, 2010, 18:52