Bangalore: Ending days of speculation and political uncertainty, the ruling BJP legislators on Wednesday picked DV Sadananda Gowda as the new leader to succeed outgoing Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa.
The new leader of the state Legislature Party was chosen via a secret ballot after several attempts to secure a consensus among the warring factions failed.
Conflicting figures emerged from the party with some
saying 65 MLAs supported Gowda and 51 for Shettar, while a few
others maintained it`s 64-53 and also 64-54, but there was no
dispute that Gowda got 60-plus votes and Shettar 50-plus.
Addressing the press after his election, Gowda who was backed by BSY thanked all his supporters and the central party leaders for reposing faith in him.
He assured that he would give a pro-development, people-friendly government.
While some reports said Shettar could be made the deputy chief minister, BJP’s Dhananjaya Kumar said there was no decision yet on the same.
Kumar also said the party can’t do without Yeddyurappa as he is a mass leader. He added that BSY will return once his name is cleared in the mining scam.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj has invited Sadananda Gowda to form the government.
The 58-year-old Gowda will take oath as CM on Thursday.
The swearing-in is scheduled for 16:30 hrs, Raj Bhavan sources said.
Shettar’s name was propped up by the rival camp led by BJP national general secretary H N Ananth Kumar in a straight contest after the party central leaders failed to evolve a consensus on the successor issue.
The election brought out the sharp division in BJP`s state unit with Yeddyurappa aggressively pushing for Gowda`s candidature after being asked to step down as Chief Minister following his indictment in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.
An affable and non-controversial figure, Gowda, a former state unit chief, is a Lok Sabha member from Udupi-Chikmagalur. He has also served as Deputy Opposition leader in the Assembly.
After Yeddyurappa`s exit, party`s central observers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh had tried to build a consensus on his successor but the rival factions stuck to their guns forcing a showdown.
The election of Gowda, who is not a member of either House of the Legislature, has clearly demonstrated the hold Yeddyurappa has over legislators and his command over the party in the state.
Yeddyurappa`s opponents in the party led by Ananth Kumar and state unit party
president KS Eswarappa had opposed Gowda`s nomination on the ground that Yeddyurappa was trying to rule by proxy.
The anti-Yeddyurappa camp proposed the name of Jagadish Shettar, who has been a contender for the chief minister`s post for a long time.
Leaders of both factions, leaving nothing to chance, indulged in the numbers game and ferried their loyalist MLAs to separate star hotels in an attempt to guard them from being poached.
Minutes before the Legislature Party meeting, Yeddyurappa and Ananth Kumar supporters brought their group of MLAs to the meeting venue in buses, an action which also brought to the fore the groupism in the state unit.
(With PTI inputs)