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BJP struggles for consensus on Yeddyurappa's successor

Tuesday August 02, 2011 06:05:06 PM, IANS

Bangalore: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators in Karnataka Tuesday remained deeply divided over who should succeed scam-hit B.S. Yeddyurappa, who resigned Sunday as the chief minister.

The race to become the BJP's second chief minister of the state narrowed down to Lok Sabha member from Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar.

Yeddyurappa and his supporters are insisting on Gowda while Shettar is being backed by state BJP chief K. S. Eshwarappa and party general secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar, who is the Lok Sabha member from Bangalore South.

The legislators belonging to the two groups are holed up in two star hotels in Bangalore, holding meetings amongst themselves and with their leaders.

Senior party leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley are returning to Bangalore later Tuesday to continue their efforts to work out a compromise between the rival camps.

They had tried without success for over two days from Friday to select a candidate to take over from Yeddyurappa, who quit Sunday after Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde sought his trial for graft in the illegal mining scandal in the state.

Yeddyurappa's group is claiming the support of over 70 of the 120 party legislators in the 225-member assembly which has one nominated member.

"We have the support of over 70 assembly members to elect Sadananda Gowda and he will be chosen tomorrow (Wednesday)," excise minister and Yeddyurappa loyalist M.P. Renukacharya told reporters at Chancery Pavilion, a star hotel.

The group backing Gowda has been staying in this hotel on the busy Residence Road in city centre since Sunday.

This claim is being contested by legislators backing Shettar. They are holed up in the Lalit Ashok, another star hotel, about five kilometres away.

Medical Education Minister S.A. Ramdas, identified with the Eshwarappa-Ananth Kumar group, told reporters that the new leader of the legislature party would be selected on the basis of the opinion of all the legislators and the "party high command".

"We are all bound by the decision of the high command," he told reporters.

BJP general secretary and in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka, Dharmendra Pradhan has been meeting Yeddyurappa, Eshwarappa, Ananth Kumar, Gowda, Shettar and legislators separately to arrive at a consensus.

He has been at this exercise since Thursday, hours after the BJP parliamentary board told Yeddyurappa to quit immediately.








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