Advani says fresh poll is way to deal with rebels
BSY aides set July 5 deadline to oust DVS
Bharatiya Janata Party patriarch L K Advani is understood to have advised central leaders of the party that dissolving the Assembly and seeking a fresh mandate in Karnataka was the best way to check the chronic rebellion in the party leading to the political instability in the State, but many of his colleagues differ.
Advani is said to have told central leaders that such a radical step would enable the party to retrieve lost ground and cut its losses in terms of image and electoral strength.
However, the idea is not acceptable to many in the central leadership, as it is fraught with danger of an electoral defeat. Instead, the party top brass appears to be veering to replacing D V Sadananda Gowda with Jagdish Shettar as chief minister soon after the Presidential election.
“Keeping in view the extent of the rebellion and the support enjoyed by Yeddyurappa's camp, there seems to be no option but to agree to his demand that Shettar be made the Chief Minister. If we have to perform well in the next Assembly election, we will have to meet his demand,” a senior leader said. Elections in Karnataka are due in May next year.
Party state unit chief K S Eshwarappa, who has been insisting that Gowda won’t be removed as chief minister, said he would be happy if the next Assembly elections are held by December.
In Bangalore, Yeddyurappa and his backers upped the ante by setting July 5 as the deadline for the central leadership to remove D V Sadananda Gowda as chief minister.
Party general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Dharmendra Pradhan returned to Delhi after meeting both factions. He met BJP President Nitin Gadkari and senior leader Arun Jaitley and apprised them of the developments in Karnataka and the demands of both the Yeddyurappa and Gowda camps.
At their wits end over Yeddyurappa’s mutiny, the central leaders on Sunday asked the RSS to intervene and convince the former chief minister to defer his new deadline - July 5 - for a change in leadership.
Responding to the plea, The Karnataka leaders of RSS convened a meeting with Yeddyurappa, Chief Minister Sadananda , party state unit chief K S Eswarappa and Rural Development Minister, and tried to convince them to keep peace in the party.
The RSS leaders are understood to have floated a compromise formula to persuade Yeddyurappa to ensure that the nine ministers loyal to him withdraw their resignations.
The RSS men told Yeddyurappa that the party high command was open for a discussion on the change of leadership in the state at the Karnataka core committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday. However, sources said ,Yeddyurappa did not promise any thing to RSS leaders on giving up his July 5 deadline.
Earlier in the day, in a meeting of MPs and MLAs of the Yeddyurappa camp held at Jagadish Shettar’s residence, decided to wait till 6 pm on July 5.
“The Central leadership will be responsible for developments in the State unit after July 5 if it does not accept our demand,” MP Suresh Angadi declared after the meeting.
Among steps that the dissidents are planning to take after the deadline include MPs faxing their resignation letters to the party national president Nitin Gadkari, 10 of its ministers submitting their resignation letters to the Governor and convening a parallel legislature party meeting and declaring Shettar as its leader. The meeting also resolved that they will stick to whatever decision Yeddyurappa and Shettar take in coming days.
The Yeddyurappa camp also flexed its muscle by claiming the support of 51 MLAs and 14 Lok Sabha MPs. Yeddyurappa, however, did not attend the meeting.
Gowda’s backers defiant
On the other side of the fence, minister Balachandra Jarkiholi met Sadananda Gowda and asked him not to give in to Yeddyurappa’s pressure. A group of party MLAs led by Jarkiholi has already declared that it would dislodge the government if Gowda is removed. Five independent MLAs too met Gowda and pledged their support to him.
The chief minister, who is scheduled to go to Delhi on Monday afternoon to attend the wedding reception of Nitin Gadkari’s son, is also likely to hold talks with party leaders on the political crisis back home.