In an escalation of the crisis in the BJP government in Karnataka,seven ministers loyal to former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa on Saturday offered their resignations to their leader,sending out a clear signal of defiance to Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda.
Sources in the Yeddyurappa camp said more MLAs are likely to offer their resignations in support of the Lingayat strongman,who has been demanding his reinstatement without much success as the chief minister for the past few months.
Sources close to the former chief minister,against whom a CBI inquiry was ordered by the Supreme Court on Friday in a mining-related corruption case,said the seven ministers have asked Yeddyurappa to take a decision on whether they should continue in the Gowda government or not. Yeddyurappa has been asked to decide if the resignations should be forwarded to the chief minister, a source said.
Five of the seven ministers were recently identified by Chief Minister Gowda and BJP state president K S Eshwarappa in a letter to party national president Nitin Gadkari as Yeddyurappa loyalists who were threatening the unity of the party.
Sources said Yeddyurappa is now trying to pressure the BJP national leadership to make Jagadish Shettar,a Lingayat community leader,the chief minister and that he has called a meeting of MLAs supporting him on Monday. He will consider the view of all the MLAs who are his supporters and decide on a future course of action, a source close to Yeddyurappa said.
There has been speculation over the past several weeks that Yeddyurappa might attempt to pull down the BJP government if the CBI is asked to investigate corruption charges against him. The move to drag down the government is being considered as an attempt to get close to the Congress and soften the CBI blow though the former chief ministers support base is currently at an all-time low at around 10 MLAs out of a total of 121 BJP MLAs in a legislature where 113 is the simple majority.
The seven ministers who submitted their resignations to Yeddyurappa are Basavaraj Bommai,Shoba Karandlaje,V Somanna,M P Renukacharya,C M Udasi,Murugesh Nirani and Raju Gowda.