Bangalore: Apparently rattled by speculation that he is working to defeat his successor DV Sadananda Gowda in the Dec 22 bypoll to the legislative council, former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said Sunday he is trying for Gowda`s unanimous election.
Gowda is now a MP and is seeking to enter the legislative council in the Dec 22 bypoll. He took over from Yeddyurappa Aug 4 and has to get elected to the state legislature within six months to meet constitutional requirements.
"I have telephoned former prime minister and JD-S (Janata Dal-Secular) president HD Deve Gowda, state Congress chief G Parameshwara and Leader of Opposition in the assembly Siddaramaiah(of Congress) not to field a candidate against Sadananda Gowda," Yeddyurappa told reporters near Hassan, about 280 km from Bangalore.
The BJP`s first chief minister in the state denied he was aspiring to return to the post by ensuring Gowda`s defeat in the bypoll.
Yeddyurappa, however, did not give any indication whether the Congress and JD-S leaders were willing to accept his appeal. "I have appealed to them and hope Gowda will be elected unanimously," he said.
Speculation in political circles and a section of the media on Yeddyurappa`s plans started after mining barons Reddy brothers` associate and former BJP minister B Sriramulu announced in Bangalore Friday that 22 BJP assembly members were supporting him and immediate target was to defeat Gowda in the Dec 22 bypoll.
In Bangalore, Siddaramaiah told reporters that Congress will field a candidate. "Names have been sent to the high command for final selection," he said.
He was confident that the JD-S and Sriramulu and his supporters in BJP will vote for the Congress candidate.
Gowda will file the nomination papers in Bangalore Monday, the last day for doing so. Only assembly members are eligible to vote in the bypoll, which follows N. Shankarappa of BJP vacating the seat to facilitate Gowda`s entry to the council.
The BJP has 119 members in the 225-member assembly and the support of one independent. The Congress has 71 and JDS 26. The rest are independents.
In a breather for the BJP, Sriramlu now appears to have changed his tune.
On Saturday he told reporters in Bellary, the Reddy brothers` stronghold 300 km north of Bangalore, that he will not destablise the BJP government as the party has got a mandate for five years.
"I will not ask my supporters in BJP to vote against Gowda. It is left to them," Sriramulu, who quit BJP in September as he was not taken in the Gowda ministry, said.
Sriramulu, who Dec 4 won the bypoll to the assembly from Bellary Rural seat defeating the BJP and Congress candidates, has announced he will form a new party soon.
Of the three Reddy brothers`, Gali Somashekara openly campaigned for Sriramulu in the bypoll and has been suspended from BJP.
Gali Janardhana, who was tourism minister in the Yeddyurappa cabinet, is in Hyderabad`s Chanchalaguda jail since Sep 5 in connection with illegal mining case in Andhra Pradesh.
The third brother, Gali Karunakara, who was also member of the Yeddyurappa ministry, did not campaign for Sriramulu and has said that if BJP leaders ask him, he will talk to this siblings not to leave the party.