Breather for Yeddyurappa as BJP defers decision

Nitin Gadkari met BS Yeddyurappa to discuss charges of corruption and nepotism.

Last Updated: Nov 20, 2010, 23:52 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP president Nitin Gadkari late on Friday held a meeting with BS Yeddyurappa and Karnataka core committee members on charges of corruption and nepotism against the Chief Minister, but deferred a decision on his fate till the matter is discussed with the central leadership.

"The party president had requested the Chief Minister
and senior leaders (of Karnataka) to come to Delhi for
consultations with them which have been completed today. We
will be discussing what we discussed with them with senior
leaders in Delhi," senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley told
reporters after the meeting.

Party sources said the matter may be discussed with the
central core group to take final call on whether Yeddyurappa
should be replaced or allowed to continue in office. Senior
leader LK Advani was away in Mumbai due to a family
bereavement and would return today. His opinion on the
issue would weigh heavily on the final outcome.

The four-hour long late night meeting held on Friday at
Gadkari`s residence was attended by senior leader Ananth
Kumar and BJP Karnataka core committee leaders.

Gadkari returned from Lucknow to meet the Karnataka
leaders, the state unit president KS Eshwarappa, his
predecessor DV Sadanand Gowda, Minister of Rural Development
and Panchayati Raj Jagdish Shettar who have been camping in
Delhi to meet the central leadership.

Though speculation is rife that Yeddyurappa`s luck has
run out, some senior leaders as well as the RSS want that he
be given another life.

Yeddyurappa himself appeared defiant before the
meeting and asserted that he would not step down.

"Who are they to force me to resign?" Yeddyurappa said.

He claimed the opposition parties were "disappointed"
with him because "the development work is going on like
anything."

"So, they are afraid that in another 10 to 15 years
they would be the opposition party only...that`s why they are
creating problem," he said.

While one faction in the party is keen on replacing
Yeddyurappa, the central leadership wants to weigh all pros
and cons before arriving at any decision.

In case the party goes in for a change of guard in
Karnataka, Shettar will be the likely choice as he is from
Yeddyurappa`s Lingayat community, sources said.

Party sources said Yeddyurappa explained his position
and refuted all charges of nepotism in today`s meeting. His
stand was that since he had surrendered the land allegedly
allotted to his sons out-of-turn and also ordered a judicial
inquiry, he should be allowed to stay.

Some BJP central leaders feel removing Yeddyurappa
would not solve the crisis in the state as factionalism would
still continue.

However, the faction led by Ananth Kumar wants
Yeddyurappa to be replaced. The argument against the Chief
Minister is that charges of corruption and favouritism against
him are taking the sting out of the BJP attack on UPA
government in the 2G Spectrum, Adarsh Housing Society and
Commonwealth Games scams.

BJP-led NDA has stalled Parliament on the issue of
corruption and demands for a JPC probe into the three scams.

PTI