BJP says no to Yeddyurappa's choice for CM



BJP says no to Yeddyurappa`s choice for CM Bangalore: Deadlock continued in the ruling BJP in Karnataka over finding a successor to BS Yeddyurappa, whose exit as Chief Minister has triggered an intense power struggle in the party.

After failing to build consensus on the leadership issue, the party central observers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh last night deferred a legislature party meeting to August three where a new leader is slated to be formally elected.

After stepping down, Yeddyurappa went public saying former state unit president DV Sadananda Gowda is his choice but it was simply not acceptable to the rival side led by senior leader HN Ananth Kumar and state unit chief KS Eshwarappa.

The anti-Yeddyurappa camp is plumping for Jagadish Shettar, also a former state unit president who comes from the dominant Lingayat community to which Yeddyurappa also belongs to. He is not acceptable to Yeddyurappa.

Yeddyurappa resigned yesterday ending his defiance three days after the party central leadership issued a directive to him to step down in the wake of his indictment by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde in his report on illegal mining.

"I am a contender (for the Chief Minister's post)", Shettar told reporters here today. "BJP MLAs have expressed a wish that I should become Chief Minister", an indication that the BJP high command has a tough task on hand.

MLAs loyal to Yeddyurappa continued to flock his Race Course residence, while the rival camp held confabulations in a hotel.

A "numbers game" is also on -- as to which camp has more support of legislators ahead of the legislature party meeting.

On being told that Yeddyurappa has suggested Gowda's name, Eshwarappa told reporters, "He (Yeddyurappa) didn't say that he (Gowda) has been elected".

Eshwarappa ruled himself out of the chief ministerial race, saying he had been made the state unit President for three years to strengthen the party, and he would complete that term, raising questions about the possibility of Yeddyurappa being given his post

Yeddyurappa has reportedly been insisting that he be made the state unit party chief.

He sought to downplay the divisions in the ongoing exercise to find a successor to Yeddyurappa, saying the BJP has 121 MLAs and there is nothing wrong in their airing views on the issue.

"It (decision on the new leader) will not take place in Delhi; BJP MLAs will sit and decide the leader, with central party leaders being observers", Eshwarappa said.

PTI