Rural development and panchayat raj minister (RDPR) Jagadish Shettar was formally elected as the BJP legislature party leader in Karnataka.
In what was to be a smooth affair, the meeting turned out to be a complicated issue for BJP observers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh with followers of Sadananda Gowda insisting the party to fulfil their demands.
In a compromise formula worked out, the party is believed to have decided to create two deputy chief ministers’ post to accommodate both rival camps. State BJP president KS Eshwarappa and home minister R Ashoka are likely to be deputy CMs and sworn in along with Shettar on Wednesday.
Gowda, who was asked to step down by the BJP high command, is expected to submit his resignation to governor H R Bhardwaj later in the evening. Shettar will also meet governor with regard to formation of his government.
The meeting was delayed for over four hours as the Gowda camp, involving around 55 MLAs, threatened the BJP high command that legislators and MPs belonging to their group would boycott legislature party meeting if Jaitley and Singh failed to assure that Gowda would be accommodated as party president of state unit and incumbent KS Eshwarappa as deputy chief minister. They have also demanded that their group should get plump portfolios in the new government.
Gowda, a Vokkaliga, was asked to pave way for Lingayat strongman Shettar after ten ministers loyal to former CM BS Yeddyurappa resigned demanding change in the leadership. The party also made changes keeping 2013 assembly elections in mind.
Shettar will be third chief minister in last four years. Yeddyurappa, who became the CM in May 2008, led the first ever BJP government in south. He was forced to resign after he was indicted by Lokayukta in connection with illegal mining. Gowda became the chief minister with support of Yeddyurappa, defeating party candidate Shettar in a poll held to choose new legislature party leader in August 2011.
Though Gowda claimed he had given clean and good 11-month administration, his tenure was marked with indecisiveness.