8 ministers put in papers to press for CM's removal
BJP leadership divided over Karnataka crisis
In an attempt to mount pressure on BJP leadership to replace D V Sadananda Gowda as chief minister of Karnataka, eight ministers loyal to B S Yeddyurappa submitted their resignations on Friday. Gowda is yet to accept the resignations.
The Yeddyurappa loyalists took the extreme step after the BJP leadership refused to heed their demand for Gowda’s ouster, and asked them not to rock the boat till the Presidential election is over.
The decision to tender the resignation letter was, taken at Yeddyurappa’s Dollar’s Colony residence after ministers loyal to Yeddyurappa held a series of meetings at Shettar’s residence.
After receiving the resignation letters, Gowda remained closeted with his other ministerial colleagues.
In yet another development, party Karnataka in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan, who was scheduled to arrive in Bangalore on Friday to take stock of the situation, cancelled his visit. The eight ministers who tendered their resignation are: Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar, Agriculture Minister Umesh Katti, Public Works Minister C M Udasi, Excise Minister Renukacharya, Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani, Housing Minister V Somanna and Animal Husbandry Minister Revu Nayak Belamagi. Barring Belamagi, the rest are Lingayats.
“There has been no real working arrangement between the chief minister and some ministers in the last three to four months. There are many reasons for it and they are in the leadership’s domain. We hope the leadership command will intervene and resolve the issue. But we have no intention to dislodge the government,” Bommai told the media after submitting the resignation letter to the chief minister.
Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje and Minister for Small Scale Industries Raju Gouda, did not submit their resignation letters.
Shobha was said to be away in Manasarovar. It was not clear whether they will also follow suit. If the resignation letters are accepted, the strength of the Gowda’s ministry will come down to 15 from 23. The chief minister is already holding 21 portfolios.
Sources in the party said that the central leaders too are divided in their stand over the Karnataka crisis. While Advani and Sushma Swaraj are against changing the leadership at this juncture, Nitin Gadkari is not averse to make Shettar the chief minister so that the party can cash in on the Lingayat factor in the next Assembly elections. Sources said a decision would be taken by the party’s parliamentary board.
However, some senior leaders in Bangalore said Delhi would send some leaders on Sunday to resolve the crisis. One formula in air is replacing Sadananda Gowda, naming K S Eshwarappa as deputy chief minister and appointing a scheduled caste leader as party state unit president.