With former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa digging in his heels, closeted with at least 50 legislators at a resort in the outskirts in Bangalore, the BJP central leadership might be forced to reinstate him as the Karnataka chief minister.
Claiming they have the support of 70 MLAs, the Yeddyurappa camp has given the central leaders a deadline till Tuesday—the day the budget session is slated to begin in the state assembly.
Yeddyurappa has reportedly asked his followers to submit their resignation to the governor if the Central leaders failed to meet his demand.
He has even fielded BJ Puttaswamy as his candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls against BJP’s official candidates Basawaraj Patil Sedam and R Ramakrishna. Later in the night, the BJP suspended Puttaswamy. Yeddyurappa had to quit the chief minister’s post in July 2011 after he was indicted by a Lokyukta report on illegal mining.
On Monday, Gadkari said in Mumbai that the party had to remove Yeddyurappa at the time but had promised to reinstate him if he got a clean chit from the court. “The high court did not find him guilty,” he said. "The party is mulling a leadership change in Karnataka, but we will not decide it under pressure. The delay is due to the Rajya Sabha polls.”
In Ahmedabad, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the crisis was not serious. “A dialogue is on between the party and Yeddyurappa. I am also in touch with him. It is purely an internal issue and will be resolved soon,” he said.
Karnataka chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda, meanwhile, sought to keep his writ running in the face of the crisis.
Rejecting the Yeddyurappa camp’s demand for a legislature party meeting within 48 hours, he said such a meeting would take place only after the budget has been presented.