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BJP mulls replacing Karnataka chief minister to save government

Tuesday July 03, 2012 09:50:34 PM, IANS

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New Delhi/Bangalore: The Bharatiya Janata Party Tuesday appeared inclined to replace Karnataka Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda to save the government in view of pressure by a faction led by his predecessor B.S. Yeddyurappa.

BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and senior leaders including Arun Jaitley Tuesday held talks with Gowda, Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar, whom the Yeddyurappa faction wants to be the chief minister, and state unit president K. S. Eshwarappa and their supporters in New Delhi.

"Our central leaders had talks with all important Karnataka party leaders. We are inching towards a solution. All issues will be settled within the party forum," BJP general secretary in charge of Karnataka affairs Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters in New Delhi.

He did not indicate what the solution will be or when it will be in place.

However BJP sources told IANS in Bangalore that most of the central leaders were veering towards replacing Gowda with Shettar, mainly because assembly elections are due May next and the bickering cannot be allowed to persist.

They said though Gowda and his supporters have been resisting his removal, the central leaders believe that the Gowda camp would not create problems like the Yeddyurappa faction and would abide by the decision.

The sources said the central leaders would decide when the change would take place - before the presidential polls July 19 or later.

Eshwarappa told reporters in New Delhi ahead of the series of meetings that it might take a week for the party central leaders to resolve the crisis.

Gowda was a Lok Sabha member when he was hand-pickd by Yeddyurappa to succeed him last July when the BJP's first chief minister in south India was forced to quit over mining bribery charges.

Yeddyurappa had then opposed Shettar taking over from him as both belong to the politically influential Lingayat community which, making up 17 percent of the state's 65 million population, is generally believed to be strong supporter of BJP.

Yeddyurappa, who claims that he had rallied round the Lingayats behind the BJP, feared Shettar emerging as rival power centre in the community.

However now he has fielded him as his effort to regain the chief minister's post has been halted by the Central Bureau of Investigation probe into mining bribery charges on the direction of the Supreme Court.

In the 225-member assembly, the BJP has 120 members, the Congress 71, Janata Dal-Secular 26 and Independents seven. One is a nominated member.

The Yeddyurappa faction claims it has the support of 70 the party's 120 members.




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