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Infighting in Karnataka BJP escalates

Thursday December 29, 2011 09:02:43 PM, IANS

Bangalore: Factional feuding in Karnataka's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party escalated Thursday with indications that it will only worsen in the coming days unless the party central leadership intervenes to settle the leadership issue.

B.S. Yeddyurappa, who was forced out as the chief minister over corruption charges in July, Thursday launched blistering attack on state unit chief K.S. Eshwarappa.

Yeddyurappa, who has been lobbying with central leaders to make him the chief minister again or declare him the sole leader of the state unit, virtually set a Jan 15 deadline for them to accept his demand.

The central leaders have earlier rejected his demand, telling him that he can become the chief minister again only after he is cleared of corruption charges. They have been advocating the state unit be run under collective leadership.

Eshwarappa has been repeating this stand of the central leaders.

He and Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda Wednesday met BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and senior leaders L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj to plead with them to take a public stand on the leadership tussle as it was further damaging the party's image in the state.

However, no public statement came from the central leaders but Eshwarappa reiterated the stand about collective leadership and no reinstatement of Yeddyurappa till he is cleared of charges.

"Eshwarappa has been making statements as if I am guilty. He is responsible for me losing the chief minister's post. He wants me out of the party as well," Yeddyurappa told reporters here.

"I will take a decision after Jan 15," he said but declined to elaborate.

Eshwarappa, who was in his hometown Shimoga, about 280 km north of Bangalore, declined to react to Yeddyurappa's attack on him.

Incidentally, Shimoga is also the political base of Yeddyurappa. He represents Shikaripura in the district in the assembly while his son B.Y. Raghavendra is the BJP Lok Sabha member from Shimoga.

Chief Minister Gowda said central leaders had advised the state unit to desist from indulging in public debate on leadership and other issues.

"All of us will have to go by the decision of the central leadership," he told reporters in Bellary, about 300 km north of Bangalore.








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