Bangalore: At a time when the BJP top brass is busy overseeing the succession process of a new Karnataka CM, a rebellion of sorts broke out in the state BJP with Yeddyurappa loyalists pressing the high command to allow him to continue as the chief minister.
On the other hand, Yeddyurappa has stuck to stiff conditions which he has put before the central leadership, in order to comply with the party directive. The BJP Legislature party meeting scheduled for Friday has been put off amid reports that Yeddyurappa is bargaining hard that the next chief minister should be his nominee. He has also asked the party to make him the state president.
For a smooth change of guard, BJP central observers Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley arrived in Banglore today and met Yeddyurappa at his residence at Race Course Road near the state secretariat to persuade him to fall along the party line but he seems to be holding out.
After half-an-hour meeting, when Yeddyurappa saw off the central observers , scores of supporters gathered outside his residence shouting slogans like Yeddyurappa beke beku (Yeddyurappa should continue) and Yeddyurappaji ki jai.
In what appears to be a show of strength by the 68-year-old Yeddyurappa, his loyalists - which includes some ministers, MPs and MLAs - upset over his exit are rallying behind him asking the BJP top brass to reconsider his resignation. The Yeddyurappa camp had a separate meeting with the central observers and told them that Yeddyurappa should remain the chief minister.
"75 MLAs, 15 Lok Sabha MPs, three Rajya Sabha MPs, 20 MLCs want Yeddyurappa as leader," claimed Rajya Sabha MP Prabhakar Kore, adding that they want the high command to allow BJP`s first chief minister in the South to continue in his post. BJP has 121 MLAs in a House of 224.
"A majority of MLAs, MLCs and Lok Sabha members are with Yeddyurappa. Yeddyurappa is our leader", loyalist Minister MP Renukacharya said.
"We appeal to the central leaders to continue with Yeddyurappa (as the chief minister)".
DB Chandre Gowda, an MP said, "Karnataka BJP MPs are of the unanimous opinion that Yeddyurappa should not resign.”
“He is not an individual. He is an institution as CM. He should have taken the opinion of all elected representatives. We appeal to the high command to reconsider," he added.
In his first comments after keeping the party on tenterhooks, Yeddyurappa said in a statement that he had toiled for 40 years to build the party in Karnataka from scratch and it was his "committed desire" to work for its development in future also.
“I have agreed to resign as a disciplined worker of BJP,” he said.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh asserted that efforts are underway to elect a new leader by "consensus".
BJP general secretary and in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka Dharmendra Pradhan and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu held consultations with legislators on the issue of electing a new leader of the legislature party.
Under intense pressure from all quarters, a defiant Yeddyurappa relented and resigned on Thursday.
Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde on Wednesday had indicted Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa for his role in the state’s illegal mining business and alleged that he received kickbacks for favouring mining barons.