BANGALORE: Giving a breather to the BJP after setting off a fresh crisis that threatened its government's survival in Karnataka, party state strongman B S Yeddyurappa today said he has put on hold his decision to quit the party but showed no let up in his war against Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda.
Yeddyurappa, who claimed that he still enjoyed the support of more than 70 of the 120 BJP MLAs, however, showed clear signs of defiance attacking Gowda whom he accused of insulting and casting aspersions on him.
"Bowing to pressure of the legislators and following an appeal by senior party leader Arun Jaitley, I have decided to keep in abeyance my decision to quit the party", said Yeddyurappa ending the latest high-voltage political drama in the first BJP government in the south.
Targeting Gowda, whom he had handpicked to succeed him, he said, "Every day the chief minister made statements that are in nature to insult my 40 years of public life. He removed some persons whom I had appointed."
Yeddyurappa said Gowda should have resigned for failing to retain the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat in the bypoll caused by his resignation after becoming chief minister.
"I am not aspiring for chief minister or state unit party president post," said Yeddyurappa adding he had not set any condition to the party central leadership while agreeing to temporarily suspend his decision to quit the party.
Yeddyurappa blamed Gowda, party General Secretary H N Anantkumar, state unit President K S Eswarappa for the crisis sparked by nine ministers and many MLAs loyal to him handing over their resignations to him.
"I am not responsible for the confusion reigning in the party in the last one week. Sadananda Gowda, Eswarappa and Anantkumar are responsible for it," he charged at a crowded press conference here held amid speculation that he would quit the party which he led to power.
Yeddyurappa also accused Gowda of 'hobnobbing' with JDS leaders in working against him. "The chief minister's first priority is JDS and not BJP," he charged.
Responding to a query, the 70-year-old leader from the dominant Lingayat community said he had not placed any demand for change in leadership.
"I have not put any condition to Gadkari or Jaitely. I have not asked them to make me chief minister or party president. The High command should depute somebody to study the ground level situation and take decisions," he demanded.
Flaying Gowda for not convening BJP legislature party meet after becoming chief minister, he termed as an "irresponsible act" his rejection of the demand by MLAs loyal to him for it.
He alleged Gowda was unconcerned about MLAs who made him chief minister and had not released funds for development works in their constituencies as they were his supporters.
Yeddyurappa, who has been sulking over the treatment meted out to him by the party particularly after Supreme Court order directing a CBI probe into illegal mining during his regime, also alleged a conspiracy to oust from the party.
He claimed 53 MLAs, including nine ministers, had submitted their resignations and have "unanimously resolved to stand by me and abide by whatever decision I take". However, they felt his leadership was imperative to the party and to the state and hence pressurised him not to take any hard decision", he said.
Yeddyurappa charged that Anantkumar had nurtured the ambition of becoming the chief minister and made three attempts to dislodge him. "...Now he is indulging in my character assassination".
"Anantkumar's sole agenda is to become the Chief Minister.
He has been poisoning the minds of our revered leaders L K Advani and A B Vajpayee. Anantkumar has been perpetually creating confusion and crisis in the state", he alleged.
To a query, he said, "I have not set any time frame. But I expect the party to take an early decision (on issues raised by him). Otherwise, I am free to decide my future course".
Yeddyurappa said he would soon undertake a statewide tour to seek people's guidance and decide on future action.