BS Yeddyurappa, the man credited with heading the BJP’s first government in the south for three years, “agreed” to step down after the BJP top brass publicly asked him to quit “immediately” to stem his defiance.
A hunt of his successor began immediately, with BSY insisting that he should have a say in who would succeed him and who would be ministers in the new set-up.
However, BSY, who stood severely indicted by lokayukta Santosh Hegde in the illegal mining scam for accepting a donation to a family trust from a private company, will officially tender his resignation to governor HR Bhardwaj only on July 31 for “astrological reasons”.
Knowing that BSY isn’t one to give up easily, the BJP parliamentary board decided to send senior leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley as observers to Bangalore on Friday to oversee the election of BSY's successor.
A senior BJP leader, who was going to Bangalore as an observer, told HT that the exercise could take a day or two but he was confident that BSY would step down. He said the party was yet to finalise an alternative.
BSY's bid to delay his resignation to the governor did fuel speculation that he was working on a strategy but senior BJP leaders read it as an indication that he wanted to have a say on the choice of his successor, the composition of the new ministry and key party issues.
Also, BSY wants to head the state unit once he steps down.
BSY would favour loyalist Shobha Karandlaje, known for her proximity to the outgoing chief minister, but he may ultimately settle for VS Acharya, who is his strong supporter.
Other names, which BSY was bound to oppose but doing the rounds, were those of law minister Suresh Acharya, Karnataka BJP president KS Eshwarappa, rural development and panchayati raj minister Jagdish Shettar, ex-BJP president DV Sadananda Gowda, and even and the party's national general secretary HN Ananth Kumar.
BSY's future was sealed despite his public outcry that he would not quit when BJP chief Nitin Gadkari conveyed the decision in the company of senior leaders Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu at a meeting late on Wednesday night.