BANGALORE: The much-hyped luncheon meeting convened by former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa turned out to be an anti-climax as it failed to arrive at any decision either on the role of the beleaguered Lingayat leader in the party or dethroning Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, as wished by Yeddyurappa.
The reason being the presence of Yeddyurappa’s rivals in the meeting, including state BJP president K S Eshwarappa and party’s conscience keepers — Rama Jois and Prof Krishna Bhat.
According to sources, the anti-Yeddyurappa camp took a well thought-out decision to attend the meeting with an aim to sabotage the former CM’s plans to instigate MLAs to further his cause.
As a result, none of the Yeddyurappa supporters was able to go full throttle against the party leadership and Gowda, though there were some stray noises seeking their leader’s reinstatement as chief minister.
All that the three-hour long meeting could decide on was to apprise the developments in the state unit to national president Nitin Gadkari, who arrived in Bangalore on Thursday night to inaugurate the two-day brainstorming session for BJP MLAs starting from Friday, and leave the final decision to the party bosses.
“In the meeting, we have elicited the views of MLAs on several issues, including the leadership issue. A few senior leaders will meet Gadkari on Friday and apprise him about the situation. We will abide by whatever decision he takes,” Eshwarappa told reporters after the meeting.
However, an embattled Yedddyurappa, who is desperate to return to power, has reportedly set February 27 as the deadline for the party leaders to take a call on the leadership issue in the state BJP, ‘or else, he will tread his own path’.
Addressing around 80 party MLAs, MLCs and MPs during the meeting, Yeddyurappa said: If the party central leadership fails to come out with a definite proposal to give him a suitable position before February 27, then he will take his own call (February 27 is his birthday, which his supporters plan to celebrate in a big way).
Yeddyurappa, who is annoyed by the sudden change in Sadananda Gowda’s loyalty, is also hell bent on stripping Gowda of his post. To achieve this, he has managed to garner the support of his biggest rival in the party — Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar, who is also unhappy with Gowda’s style of functioning.
In the meeting, MLAs B P Harish, Hemachandra Sagar, S R Vishwanath and M P Ramesh Katti reportedly demanded Yeddyurappa’s reinstatement keeping the party’s interest in mind.
They are also said to have stressed the need for removal of Gowda from the CM’s post due to his proximity with the JD(S). However, their demand was countered by a few MLAs who are not affiliated to any group in the state BJP.
“The party is above any individual. A change of guard, that too in the midst of the Udupi-Chikamagalur bye-election, would send the wrong message to the people of the state,” they reportedly stated.
Rama Jois is also allegedly opposed to the change in state leadership, stating that it would dent the party’s image further.