Even as the B S Yeddyurappa camp is mounting pressure on the party high command to change the state leadership, sources say the party is unlikely to take any major decision on the issue till July 20, when “Ashada Masa”, considered inauspicious in the Hindu calendar, ends.
The Yeddyurappa camp wants the high command to make Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar the CM. However, ministers and MLAs loyal to the party and the CM, have threatened to bring down the government if there is any such move. In the event of a change, the Gowda camp is likely to rally behind BJP state president K S Eshwarappa has projected himself as a contender for the coveted post.
When it comes to numbers, Shettar seems to be clearly emerging as a front-runner. He had narrowly lost to Gowda in the CM’s race after Yeddyurappa resigned last July. In fact, the Yeddyurappa camp had voted against him to make Gowda the CM. Now, in the changed political scenario, Shettar enjoys the support of Yeddyurappa and is also close to senior party leader Ananth Kumar.
“The BSY camp is pushing for Shettar’s candidature as it does not have a strong alternative. Shettar belongs to the dominant Lingayat community and also enjoys the support of the Sangh Parivar,” a senior BJP leader said.
On Thursday, Shettar’s residence was abuzz with activity. Leaders from both the Yeddyurappa and CM’s camp held consultations with him. He is also reaching out to Minister Balachandra Jarkiholi’s camp and is said to be confident of getting their support.
Yeddyurappa, who enjoys the support of majority of MLAs, has asked his loyalist MLAs to stay in Bangalore for the next few days when Pradhan is expected to arrive in Bangalore.
The Yeddyurappa camp claims the support of 70 of 121 MLAs in an Assembly of 224 members.
While Shettar, with the backing of the Yeddyurappa camp is hoping to become the CM, confusion over the issue is likely to help Sadananda Gowda, at least for the time being.
Jarkiholi willing to talk
Meanwhile in Belgaum, Minister for Municipal Administration Balachandra Jarkiholi expressed willingness to talk to Yeddyurappa in the interests of the BJP. Jarkiholi, a strong supporter of Sadananda Gowda, accused some ministers of creating strife between Yeddyurappa and Gowda. He, however, refused to reveal the names of such persons. “If Yeddyurappa is willing, he can meet K S Eshwarappa and Gowda to resolve the party’s issues,” the minister said, while reiterating his stance of no change of leadership.