With the CBI closing on former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa in a corruption investigation,MLAs who are followers of the Lingayat leader kicked off a fresh round of dissident activity in the state BJP on Tuesday,demanding removal of Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda.
A group of nearly 15 legislators,mostly Lingayats,gathered at the residence of Public Works Minister and Yeddyurappa loyalist C M Udasi and demanded that a legislature party meeting be called to remove Gowda and appoint Lingayat leader Jagadish Shettar as the new Chief Minister within the next three days.
The move is widely seen as a last-ditch effort to maintain the portrayal of Yeddyurappa as a Lingayat leader and to put pressure on the BJP against sidelining Yeddyurappa loyalists in the coming days when the former chief minister himself encounters the CBI probe against him.
Yeddyurappa and Shettar will go to Delhi in a day or two to impress upon the partys national leaders to immediately call a meeting of the BJP legislature party, Udasi said after the meeting but did not spell out what eventuality the group had in mind in the likelihood of the BJP national leadership giving the Yeddyurappa group the cold shoulder.
The BJP currently has 121 MLAs with as many as 45 leaning towards the Yeddyurappa camp as witnessed in April when mass resignations were given to Yeddyurappa by the group.
With Yeddyurappa facing the CBI probe the equations are expected to change.
Following the fresh bout of dissident activity,Chief Minister Gowda was forced to cancel a tour programme he had scheduled for the northern parts of the state.
The opposition leader in the assembly Siddaramaiah,meanwhile,sought dissolution of the assembly by the Chief Minister for the frequent bouts of dissidence in the ruling BJP that was affecting government functioning.
Much of the rallying around Yeddyurappa for BJPs legislators,however,depends on the progress of the CBI case against him.
Yeddyurappa has sought anticipatory bail in the Karnataka High Court and the CBI has indicated that it would need to do a custodial interrogation.
The High Court verdict on the anticipatory bail plea is expected on Wednesday.