New Delhi/Bangalore: Buckling under mounting pressure from B.S. Yeddyurappa, the BJP
Sunday said D.V. Sadananda Gowda was being replaced as the
Karnataka chief minister by Rural Development Minister Jagadish
Shettar - with barely nine months to go for state polls.
Desperate to prevent a split in the party after Yeddyurappa
orchestrated a rebellion demanding Gowda be replaced, the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) replaced Gowda though he has given a
The BJP's decision evoked criticism from the Congress, while BJP
ally the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) said Gowda had to be "martyred"
because of the presidential polls.
Gowda was made to leave without completing a year. He took over
from Yeddyurappa Aug 4 last year.
BJP chief Nitin Gadkari justified the move to remove Gowda,
saying, "According to the present situation in Karnataka, he (Gowda)
has told me that he is resigning from the chief minister's post."
"He handed me his resignation as a good party worker. We have
accepted his resignation," he told media in New Delhi.
"Keeping in mind the future of Karnataka, we have decided to give
the leadership (in the state) to Jagadish Shettar," Gadkari
Yeddyurappa had quit last July over mining bribery charges.
Gadkari said the outgoing chief minister would be given an
important role at the central and state levels - in an apparent
attempt to ensure that Gowda doesn't brew a revolt.
A smiling Gowda, a victim of Karnataka's never-ending caste
politics, said he had no complaints and would abide by the party
The announcement of change in chief ministership led to wild
celebrations in Shettar's hometown of Hubli, about 400 km north of
Bangalore, while a pall of gloom descended on most parts of
coastal Karnataka from where Gowda hails.
The state BJP legislature party is to meet in Bangalore Monday to
formally elect Shettar, 56, as its new leader to enable him to
meet Governor H. R.Bhardwaj and stake claim to form the
Gadkari said party leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh would go
to Bangalore Monday for discussions with BJP leaders there.
Shettar would be the BJP's third chief minister in four years in
the state and would have about nine months in office as assembly
elections are due May next year.
In Shimoga, about 280 km from Bangalore, state BJP chief K.S.
Eshwarappa said Gowda would be given a suitable position in the
The decision for the leadership change in Karnataka was taken
Saturday by the party's core group.
In a strategic move, Yeddyurappa has stayed away from media glare
for nearly two weeks now.
Gowda told reporters outside Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi that he
had quit as an "obedient soldier of the party".
"...The verdict given by central leaders has been whole-heartedly
accepted by me.. I will be a loyal worker in the future as well.
The incoming chief minister will be extended all cooperation by
me," he said.
Gowda, who came to New Delhi Saturday evening, met party leaders
L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar at
Advani's residence. He met Gadkari Sunday.
BJP sources say the party is planning to make Gowda a Rajya Sabha
member. He was a Lok Sabha member before becoming chief minister.
Gadkari made it clear that the step was taken eyeing the assembly
polls in Karnataka and the Lok Sabha polls of 2014, and called on
all state leaders to fight unitedly.
Yeddyurappa is the leading figure of the Lingayat community in the
state which makes up 17 percent of the state's population.
Gowda was Yeddyurappa's choice to replace him over Shettar. But
after the Karnataka High Court struck down the Lokayukta report
indicting him for mining bribery charges, Yeddyurappa stepped up
efforts to get back as the chief minister, but Gowda failed to
On Friday, Shettar and eight other ministers resigned from the
ministry, forcing the party's national leaders to agree to a
The Congress Sunday termed the change in Karnataka as a "victory
"This is a victory of BJP's corruption.... Corrupt people were
against Gowda and BJP leaders would have been exposed," said
Congress general secretary B.K. Hariprasad.
JD-U chief Sharad Yadav said that Gowda had to be martyred because
of the presidential polls.
"If the presidential polls had not been there, he would not have
to resign," he said.