Shettar cosies up to BSY

Trouble in BJP: Gadkari coming today; show of strength likely

Ever since the BJP came to power in Karnataka, senior minister Jagadish Shettar has been sulking because he hasn’t got the primacy he thinks he deserves.

Taking sides: Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa at a meeting in Bangalore on  Wednesday.DH photoHe had rebelled against his community (Lingayat) strongman B S Yeddyurappa because he was made the Legislative Assembly Speaker and not a minister. He reluctantly occupied the chair for nearly one and a half years and aligned with Yeddyurappa’s bete noirs Janardhana Reddy, K S Eshwarappa and S A Ramdas, among others.

When he was given the Rural Development and Panchyat Raj portfolio, which was earlier held by Shobha Karandlaje, he wasn’t all that happy accepting it. After Yeddyurappa was forced to quit as chief minister following his indictment in the illegal mining case, he anointed Sadananda Gowda as his replacement.

About six months ago, Shettar was not even on speaking terms with Yeddyurappa. But now, the equation has changed. The two prominent Lingayat leaders, who belong to the same sub-caste, are not only on good terms, but have also teamed up against  Gowda.

Sources in the BJP said both the leaders had been in touch with each other for the last three months. Shettar is apparently upset with Gowda for various reasons, including for not being given importance in the administration. It is said important decisions like the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah as the Upa Lokayukta were taken by Gowda unilaterally.

Gowda has been playing the caste card by hobnobbing with the Janata Dal (S). This is another reason why he is being targeted by Shettar.

Realising that Yeddyurappa and Shettar are trying to destabilise the Gowda government, BJP leaders supporting the chief minister have also begun playing their games.

They made Gowda attend a programme organised by a mutt belonging to Panchamasali Lingayats in Gokak. Besides, the anti-Yeddyurappa camp laid the foundation stone for a temple on the Siddaganga Mutt premises in Tumkur.

Hurt by his own community and religious leaders sidelining him, Yeddyurappa held talks with Shettar and expressed his regret for not making him the chief minister.

It is learnt Shettar is now hoping he would get a portfolio of his choice.

Sangh snubs Yeddyurappa, Shettar

The RSS and the BJP central leadership are said to be against any change of leadership in the State at this point of time. The Sangh is understood to have made its stand clear to foes-turned-friends Yeddyurappa and Jagadish Shettar, in Bangalore on Wednesday.

The two leaders had gone to visit top RSS functionaries at Keshava Krupa and inform them they had decided to bury the hatchet in the interest of the party. They were indirectly suggesting it was time for change in the leadership. However, the RSS functionaries are learnt to have told the two Lingayat leaders that they are obviously realigning to take on chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda.

Sources said the RSS functionaries had told Yeddyurappa and Shettar that a change in leadership would be suicidal for the party at this juncture, as its image had already taken a severe beating because of infighting and scores of scams.

Post meeting, the former chief minister was visibly disturbed, sources said. Arriving at his Race Course Road residence, he reportedly told an MLA who was waiting to meet him, “Prepare for elections. The Assembly will be dissolved”.

Endorsing the RSS stand, the BJP central leadership too has ruled out any change in leadership.

According to sources in the BJP, senior leader L K Advani is against succumbing to the demands of Yeddyurappa and has conveyed his view to the State leaders.

Rival camp may rain on BSY party

The BJP leaders seem to have mastered the art of outsmarting their rivals. If Yeddyurappa is hoping to show his strength by convening a meeting of MLAs supporting him at his residence on Thursday, his rival camp headed by K S Eshwarappa, too, has a plan up its sleeve.

It is said Eshwarappa and a few Yeddyurappa baiters may also turn up at the meeting just to show all is well in the party, and ensure that the former chief minister does not convert the luncheon meeting into a personal show of strength.

Sadananda Gowda may not make it as he has a programme to attend in Mangalore at 11 am. Yeddyurappa’s rivals have been told to watch the developments at his Race Course residence, where the meeting has been scheduled, and then act on their plan accordingly. Meanwhile, Eshwarappa, who was in Chikmagalur on Wednesday, said he would attend the luncheon meeting. He told the mediapersons that there would be nothing wrong in hosting a lunch and convening the meeting. He termed the ‘crisis’ in the party is mere “confusion” and said that it would be set right.

Convention may turn into b’day bash

BJP leaders from the backward classes, led by member of Lok Sabha P C Mohan, on Wednesday, invited former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa for their convention in Bangalore on February 27. February 27 also happens to be the birthday of Yeddyurappa. The supporters of the former chief minister were planning a grand birthday bash for him at Palace Grounds. But, Yeddyurappa had told his supporters that they could hold the bash only if he gets permission from party national president Nitin Gadkari. With the central leadership unlikely to approve the bash, political observers feel the backward classes’ convention, could double up as his birthday bash. 

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