Bangalore: The festering crisis in the BJP government in Karnataka today reached a flash point with eight ministers loyal to party state strongman BS Yeddyurappa submitting their resignations to Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, who they want to be removed.
Precipitating the crisis, the ministers met Gowda and handed over their resignation letters upping the ante in their oust Gowda campaign, seeking to put pressure on the central leadership which has so far refused to buckle to their demand.
Emerging from Gowda’s official residence, PWD minister CM Udasi told reporters that eight ministers personally submitted their resignations and that of Shobha Karndalaje, who is away from the city, was handed over to the chief minister, who insisted that she should do so herself.
Besides Udasi, others who resigned are Jagadish Shettar, V Sommanna, Basavaraj Bommai, Murugesh Nirani, Revu Naik Belamagi, MP Renukacharya and Umesh Katti. Another minister Raju Gowda would quit on Saturday, Udasi said.
“There was a trust deficit between the ministers and the chief minister in the last 3-4 months. We had been pressuring the chief minister to convene the BJP legislature party meeting. That also did not happen,” he said.
He said many issues raised by the MLAs were not addressed by the chief minister.
“So we have decided to resign. We also brought the issues to the notice of central leadership,” Udasi said.
“We were forced to precipitate the issue… There was no real working arrangement between the Chief Minister and Ministers. There were a lot of complaints by MLAs also,” Bommai said.
He quoted the chief minister as having told them that he would bring the resignation issue to the notice of the party central leadership.
The rebel camp’s move was revealed in the afternoon when Yeddyurappa loyalist and MLA BP Harish said ministers would resign in the evening.
The rebels’ move comes a day after the BJP central leadership sought to buy more time to resolve the Karnataka crisis and asked Gowda to cancel his proposed visit to Delhi.
Gowda had planned to meet the top leaders amid persisting speculation over change of leadership.
Earlier today, ministers loyal to Yeddyurappa held strategy meetings at the residence of Shettar, who is being propped up by the dissidents as the successor to Gowda.
The faction demanded that the party’s central leadership take a call on their demand today itself, saying their patience was running out.
The central leadership whose efforts to put the house in order have been a failure let it be known that there is no question of change of leadership at least till the Presidential elections are over by the middle of next month.
In-charge of the party’s Karnataka affairs, Dharmendra Pradhan said in New Delhi there is no question of replacing Gowda for now as he is “doing a good job”.
BJP state unit chief KS Eshwarappa admitted that while one group of MLAs has been demanding Gowda’s replacement, the other is against such a move.
The present strength of the Gowda ministry is 23, including the eight whose resignations are yet to be accepted, with 11 vacancies against the statutory limit of 34.
Since coming to power four years ago, the first ever BJP government in the south has been facing crisis after crisis, precipitated after the exit of Yeddyurappa as chief minister last year after a Lokayukta report indicted him on illegal mining issue.
Gowda, handpicked by Yeddyurappa himself, faced trouble after the state party strongman went all out to regain the chief ministership only to be told by the party central leadership to come clean in the spate of corruption cases he is facing.
Having lost hopes, Yeddyurappa has been promoting Shettar, also from the majority Lingayat community to which he belongs, as their camp’s chief ministerial choice.