BSY refuses to budge on quit call

BSY refuses to budge on quit call

The endgame: Throughout the day, CM had central BJP leaders on tenterhooks

BSY refuses to budge on quit call

After resisting summons from the party top brass to come to Delhi, Yeddyurappa on Sunday responded to a late night call from party president Nitin Gadkari and promised to be in Delhi on Monday morning.

“He (Yeddyurappa) has been asked to go,” a senior BJP leader told Deccan Herald. Pressed with the question when Yeddyurappa was told to step down, the source said: “Many times during the course of the week.”

But the chief minister, battered by a complex web of corruption and nepotism charges, continued to make last ditch efforts to hang on to power by trying to convince the leadership that a “destabilisation conspiracy” was afoot within the party. The issue of Yeddyurappa’s successor also came up for intense discussion at a meeting of the party’s core committee at Gadkari’s residence.

The names that figured in the deliberations, which lasted between 9:30 and 1:30 pm, included that of Law Minister Suresh Kumar, Higher Education Minister V S Acharya, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar and Primary Education Minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri.

Besides Gadkari, the meeting was attended by senior leaders L K Advani, Arun Jaitley , M M Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and General Secretary (Organisation) Ram Lal, who is on deputation from the RSS. 

After Gadkari was tasked by the core committee to take a decision on Yeddyurappa, the chief minister avoided leaving Bangalore, a sign that he is prepared to defy the party leadership.

Amid a blend of opera and hide-and-seek on Sunday, Yeddyurappa changed his departure time to Delhi several times. At first, he was to take the morning flight. Subsequently, he said he would take the 5 pm flight which later became 7 pm. When last reports came in, the chief minister had decided to go to Delhi on Monday morning.

Some BJP central leaders have spoken to State RSS leaders to convince Yeddyurappa to make a graceful exit. When Yeddyurappa met the RSS leadership, he was told not to create more trouble after his case emerged as a difficult test for the BJP. The central leadership is keenly monitoring the evolving developments in the State and the moves made by Yeddyurappa’s followers. Although BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar, an arch rival of Yeddyurappa, was in the national capital, he was conspicuous by his absence in the meeting.

On his part, Yeddyurappa is said to have conveyed to the party leadership that he should not be held responsible if the state government under a new BJP leader fails to get the requisite numbers in the Assembly.

After this, Ananth Kumar, Gadkari and Arun Jaitley met in the evening to discuss the possibilities of a rebellion and a split in the state unit of the BJP.

Yeddyurappa’s two sons Lok Sabha MP B Y Raghavendra and B Y Vijayendra were summoned here by the high command with all documents, including bank details, land-related transactions and balance sheets of their companies, so the leadership could be better prepared to take a decision. Raghavendra and Vijayendra met Gadkari on Saturday night explained their side of the case, saying they were into “legitimate business”.

This exercise followed Gadkari’s directive to Yeddyurappa during their meeting a few days back that the chief minister put more evidence on the table to prove his innocence. Lehar Singh, an MLC and a Yeddyurappa pointsman, has been camping in Delhi, interacting with all the top leaders with “documents” in a bid to clarify the chief minister’s position.

After copies of the documents were placed before the leaders attending the core committee meeting, the leadership was more worried by the alleged money transactions between mining barons in the state and Yeddyurappa’s sons. This was the reason which prompted the BJP leadership to convene the Sunday meeting which was not scheduled earlier.

Sources said that Yeddyurappa, who was to arrive here with a dozen ministers and MLAs as part of a “show of strength”, later reduced the number of loyalists at the behest of the high command. Two loyalists—Public Works Department Minister C M Udasi and his legal adviser K Diwakar and MP D B Chandre Gowda—were deputed by Yeddyurappa to meet Gadkari on Sunday evening to impress upon the party chief that the CM was above board.

Some other BJP leaders from Karnataka, including Irrigation Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Home Minister R Ashok, MPs D V Sadananda Gowda and Prabhakar Kore met Gadkari to try and convince him not to take any hasty decision on Yeddyurappa. Yeddyurappa loyalists brought along a CD of a sting operation which purportedly shows State Tourism Minister Janardhan Reddy in the company of an alleged representative of the Governor H R Bhardwaj and an empanelled advocate of the Union Law Ministry discussing moves against the State government. The Yeddyurappa camp also asked Gadkari not to remove him as it would adversely impact on the outcome of the Zila Panchayat and Taluk Panchayat polls.

Sources, however, said  any formal annoucement on a change of leadership and a successor may be taken once Yeddyurappa meets senior leaders on Monday.

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