BANGALORE: Rebuffing party strongman B S Yeddyurappa's bid to regain the chief minister's post, BJP today ruled out removal of incumbent D V Sadananda Gowda, indicating he has to wait till he is cleared of corruption charges.
Yeddyurappa's ultimatum of February 27 for his reinstatement as chief minister failed to cut any ice with BJP President Nitin Gadkari whom the sulking leader met before the 'chinthan manthan' brainstorming session of party legislators and MPs at a resort on the city outskirts.
"Sadananda Gowda is leading the government now. The question of changing the leadership does not arise," the BJP chief said a day after Yeddyurappa held a meeting of legislators to his strength.
The two-day session was reduced to a less than a day affair as the open power struggle cast a shadow on the meet.
However, the party maintained the decision to curtail the meeting was to devote more attention to the March 18 bypoll to Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency which Sadananda Gowda had vacated after becoming the chief minister.
Gadkari sought to play down the power struggle triggered by Yeddyurappa's renewed intensified bid to regain the chief ministership, saying "first of all there is no political crisis in Karnataka. The party is united. The party is very much committed for the progress and development of Karnataka."
In a bid to assuage the feelings of Yeddyurappa, who has made no secret of his unhappiness over being asked to quit by the central leadership last year for his indictment in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining, Gadkari said the party too had reservations on the findings of the anti-corruption body.
"The report has done injustice to Yeddyurappa.
Yeddyrappa has challenged it. I hope Yeddyurappa would get justice early. After getting justice, the party will definitely honour him", he said.
Gadkari's stand has come as a severe dampner to Yeddyurappa, who earlier set January 14 deadline and again another for February 27 to be reinstated as Chief Minister or made President of the state unit BJP.
Earlier, Yeddyurappa met Gadkari for about 20 minutes here and pressed his demand.
BJP sources said Gadkari made it clear to Yeddyurappa that he has to wait till he was absolved of the corruption charges.
Yeddyurappa returned to his residence in a huff and held consultations with his supporters but later participated in the chintan manthan.
Asked about the crisis, Gadkari said, "I feel there are no problems."
However, he hastened to add that "there are small problems. Karnataka Core Group has been invited to Delhi probably on March 3 to solve them. We will solve them".
Replying to a question, Gadkari said Yeddyurappa had set no ultimatum. "Yeddyurappa is party's popular leader in Karnataka and a popular face of the party in the state. The party respects him."