Gowda may have to make way for Shettar
BJP tells CM to mentally prepare for resignation
D V Sadananda Gowda may have to step down and make way for Jagadish Shettar as the chief minister of Karnataka over the next few days.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari and several other senior party central leaders are understood to have sounded out Gowda on Tuesday to “mentally prepare” himself to step down in favour of senior ministerial colleague Shettar.
After ascertaining the views of warring leaders from the state over the last two days, Gadkari and other senior party and RSS functionaries are believed to have impressed upon Gowda that it was desirable to install Shettar as chief minister in view of the State assembly elections that may be held by the year-end.
Shettar, who at present holds the rural development and panchayati raj portfolio in the Gowda ministry, had made common cause with former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to press Gowda’s removal. Shettar, along with eight other ministers, had resigned last week from the ministry to precipitate a fresh crisis. Gadkari had asked the rebel leadership to ensure the withdrawal of the resignation by the nine ministers and come to the national capital for discussions on the leadership issue. This was acceded to by the rebel leadership on Sunday.
The leadership is understood to have told Gowda that it would be difficult for him to continue as chief minister in the face of the raging rebellion against him. Besides, Gadkari and others also told the chief minister that the party’s prospects in the next Assembly elections would be better served with a Lingayat leader like Shettar as chief minister.
Gowda argued that he had done no wrong and had given a clean administration for the last 11 months. The central leaders, however, promised him an honourable exit. Gowda, according to party sources, has promised to abide by any decision that the central leadership would take.
Apart from Gadkari, BJP leader in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, Karnataka in-charge general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan, RSS Central organising secretary Ramlal, RSS South India organising Secretary Satish and RSS Karnataka organising secretary Santosh were involved in the consultations with state leaders, who, besides Gowda and Shettar, included state unit president K S Eshwarappa.
The central leaders met the state leaders individually and then concluded that with a collective round.
While wrapping up consultations, Gadkari is learnt to have told the state leaders that a decision on the leadership issue would be announced soon, perhaps within a week, and asked all to abide by it.
The sources said the central leaders expressed their displeasure with Eshwarappa over his frequent statements on the leadership issue and with Shettar over his resignation from the ministry.
After from the conclusion of the consultations, Pradhan, flanked by Eshwarappa and Shettar, told reporters that all important leaders of Karnataka had conveyed their views on the leadership issue, and "We are moving towards a solution. Whatever will be decided will be decided within the party framework."
Gowda, said the sources, continued to bank on party supremo L K Advani to save his job. Gadkari and others party functionaries are yet to convince Advani on the need to replace Gowda. Gadkari and another senior leader Rajnath Singh were expected to meet Advani in this regard. After discussions with Advani, a meeting of the party parliamentary board might be scheduled to formally take a decision.