New Delhi: The days in power appear to be numbered for BJP’s only chief minister in the South, BS Yeddyurappa in Karnataka.
With him being indicted in the report of Karnataka Lokayukta on illegal mining, though so far unofficially, Yeddyurappa is believed to have made up his mind to go down without fighting this time if the party asks him to step down.
The party’s central leadership is also said to have made it clear that it would be untenable for Yeddyurappa to continue as the Chief Minister any longer if the probe report, which Lokayukta Santosh Hegde will officially submit at 12 noon tomorrow, officially names him in the scam.
At a press conference with his Cabinet colleagues yesterday, Yeddyurappa had said that he would quit if found guilty of involvement in the scam.
He however today hit back at the Opposition saying it is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram who should first quit on the 2G scam issue.
"Perhaps it`s the Prime Minister and Home Minister who should quit first after what (A) Raja (former telecom minister) directly disclosed," the embattled chief minister told reporters. "They don`t have moral right to continue in office".
He also charged the Congress with harping on the "Karnataka issue" to cover up "Central government scams".
Yeddyurappa, meanwhile, is also believed to have suggested to the central leadership to dissolve the state Assembly and go in for mid-term polls. However, the party is said to be having a different view on that.
Yeddyurappa had returned to Bangalore only yesterday from a vacation to Mauritius. It was during his holiday that the Lokayukta`s report on the mining scam got leaked and indicted him.
Hegde had later acknowledged that Yeddyurappa was named in the report.
The BJP central leadership is also believed to have started the hunt for a successor. Among the names doing the rounds as possible replacements of Yeddyurappa include Rural Development Minister Jagdish Shettar, state minister Suresh Kumar and Higher Education Minister VS Acharya, party general secretary Ananth Kumar and state BJP chief KS Eshwarappa.
Sources said Yeddyurappa’s views will most likely be taken into account before picking a successor.
While Shettar is a Lingayat leader, he might lose out on the race as he is seen to have played an important role in the oust-Yeddy campaign. Ananth Kumar too has been pitching for Yeddy’s head and also has no backing of state MLAs.
Suresh Kumar, on the other hand, is close to the RSS and might stand a chance. Eshwarappa also has his foot in the door as he belongs to the backward Kuruba caste.
VS Acharya, a Brahmin, known as close confidant of Yeddyurappa is also a hot contender.