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BJP observers tap legislators on Yeddyurappa's successor

Saturday July 30, 2011 08:04:30 PM, IANS

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On a day of high drama and swift developments, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) high command Friday told scam-hit Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to resign forthwith or face expulsion from the party. "BJP 

Bangalore: With scam-hit Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa reiterating that he would resign Sunday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) central observers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh Saturday began seeking party legislators' views on a successor to form the second BJP government in the state.

"Jaitley and Singh have already met about 60 party MLAs (member of legislative assembly) since morning and hope to meet the remaining lawmakers by night to pave way for the smooth election of the new leader after Yeddyurappa resigns Sunday," a party source privy to the parleys told IANS here.

Refuting conflicting reports in a section of the media, Yeddyurappa reiterated in a statement that he would submit his resignation letter to state Governor H.R. Bhardwaj Sunday afternoon as the inauspicious Ashada month will end Saturday night (as per the Hindu calendar) to enable the party legislators elect a new leader in his place.

"As per the decision taken by the senior leaders of the party's parliamentary board (Thursday), I will resign from the chief minister's post Sunday afternoon," Yeddyurappa said in a statement from his official residence.

After he failed to get any assurance till late Friday from the party's high command that his conditions would be met, a dejected Yeddyurappa met Jaitley and Singh earlier in the day and conveyed that he would abide by the leadership's decision to quit and make way for the successor.

The beleagured Yeddyurappa whose tenure so far has been marred by a string of cotroversies had insisted that he should be allowed a hand in picking his successor, have a say in the formation of the new ministry, and be appointed as the party's state unit president's post. He wanted these assurances before he formally resigned.

"The party's state unit office has summoned all its legislators to Bangalore by phone, fax and SMS (short messaging service) for meeting the two observers and conveying their opinion on the choice of the new leader," a senior party member told IANS but declined to be identified.

The observers plan to convene the BJP legislature party meeting soon after Yeddyurappa submits resignation letter to the governor at Raj Bhavan Sunday afternoon, for either proposing or electing a new leader to form the second BJP government in the state.

In contrast to the defiant stand taken by Yeddyurappa's die-hard supporters, including a dozen ministers and about 40 lawmakers against the change of leadership till late Friday, some of them like Infrastructure Development Minister G. Jananardhana Reddy, Health Minister B. Sriramulu and Excise Minister M.P. Renukacharya changed the tune Saturday and agreed to abide by the decision of the party's high command.

"Though we are still with Yeddyurappa and want him to continue as the chief minister, we will abide by whatever decision he would take in line with the directive of the party's high command," Reddy and Renukacharya told reporters here.

In a related development, state Home Minister R. Ashoka said the new chief minister would be decided on the basis of the opinion of all legislators.

In the 225-member 13th state legislative assembly, the ruling BJP has 121 members, including the speaker, the opposition Congress 72, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) 24, six are Independents, one nominated member. One seat is vacant.

The half-way mark for simple majority is 113 members to win a confidence motion.







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