It's Official: Jagadish Shettar to Replace Gowda as Karnataka CM
New Delhi, Jul 7 (IANS): Bowing to pressure from B.S. Yeddyurappa, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to replace Karnataka Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda with Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar though a formal announcement will only be made Sunday, said party sources.
Gowda, who was summoned to New Delhi, met senior party leaders including L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar at Advani's residence.
He may meet party president Nitin Gadkari later Saturday or early Sunday, when an announcement on the change of state government leadership is likely to be made, said the sources.
Gadkari is expected to reach Delhi from Jabalpur late Saturday.
Gowda, who had asked the BJP central leadership not to take any decision on removing him as chief minister in haste and contending that he had put in his best to give a corruption-free government, changed his line soon after arriving in Delhi and said he would go by the party high command's decision.
"As I have said earlier, I would abide by whatever decision the party high command would take on the leadership issue. If I am asked to quit, I will resign and if I am asked to continue, I will stay," he told reporters.
However Gowda reiterated the party high command should not further delay the decision on the leadership issue as the uncertainty was affecting the state administration at a time when many districts across the state were reeling under drought.
"I have requested the party high command to decide on the leadership issue at the earliest as anymore delay would affect the smooth functioning of the government. As a disciplined member of the party, I will act on the advice of our leaders, whatever it may be," he said.
Speculation over the change continued during the day after the BJP's core committee Saturday discussed the imminent change of leadership in its Karnataka government, the second since the party came to power in 2008.
The need for a change of leadership occurred after Yeddyurappa, the party's first chief minister in south India, put pressure on the party to replace Gowda, his successor, with Shettar.
Yeddyurappa had to quit as chief minister July last year after the state Lokayukta indicted him in a mining scandal and other corruption charges.
Gowda was Yeddyurappa's choice then to replace him over Shettar, whose bid for the post he had opposed since both come from the same community.
But after the Karnataka High Court struck down the Lokayukta report, Yeddyurappa had stepped up efforts to get back as the chief minister, but Gowda failed to oblige him.
Last Friday, Shettar and eight other ministers submitted their resignations from the ministry, finally forcing the party's national leaders to agree to a leadership change.