Gowda cancels Delhi trip as speculation flies high
The speculation over the impending change of leadership in the State BJP seems to be on the backburner, at least for now, as Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda who was reportedly summoned by the Central party leaders to discuss the issue, cancelled his Delhi trip at the last minute on Thursday.
However, the situation in the ruling BJP in Karnataka continues to be hazy, as party central leader Dharmendra Pradhan, who was expected to arrive in Bangalore on Thursday to elicit legislators views on the leadership change issue, cancelled his visit, while those in former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s camp were yet to receive any official communication from the party high command on the issue.
The CM and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar, who were rushing to Delhi seeking to clear the confusion over the leadership issue, called off their visit just minutes before boarding a flight at the Bangalore Airport. Central leaders, who are busy with the Presidential elections, reportedly told the CM to stay put in Bangalore. Now, the central leaders are expected to arrive here in the next two-three days to discuss the issue.
The CM said there was no change in the leadership. Such speculations were there from the day one and will continue to be there. As the CM was heading to Delhi, his press conference that was scheduled at 4.30 pm was advanced to 12.30 pm.
For now, the CM seems to have got some relief. The party insiders, however, feel the confusion over leadership issue is far from over. “The party high command is divided over the issue and is not very clear about future course of action. That is adding to further confusion in the party unit in the state,” sources said.
Sources said that the party was unlikely to take any major decision on the issue till July 20 when ‘Ashada Masa’ — considered inauspicious in Hindu calender — will end.
The BSY camp is demanding change in leadership and it wants the high command to make Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar as the next CM. However, ministers and MLAs loyal to the party and the CM who are grouping together and are against such a move have threatened to bring down the government if there is any change in leadership. In the event of high command going in for change in leadership, Gowda camp is likely to rally behind BJP state unit president K S Eshwarappa.
When it comes to number game, Shettar seems to be clearly emerging as a front-runner. He had narrowly lost to Gowda in the CM’s race after BSY resigned in last July. In fact, BSY camp had voted against him to make Gowda the CM. Now, in the new political scenario, Shettar enjoys the support of the BSY and is also close to senior party leader Ananth Kumar.