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Resign now,BJP tells defiant chief minister Yeddyurappa

Party high command strikes down CM's defence after he is indicted in Rs 16,000-cr mining scam.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi |
July 28, 2011 9:15:52 am

The BJP high command on Thursday forced a defiant Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to immediately resign office in the wake of his indictment by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde in the Rs 16,000-crore mining scam.

Senior central party leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh have been deputed as central observers to choose a new leader in the state.

Party spokesman Ravishankar Prasad announced the news in the morning after a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board. The central leadership had unanimously decided for a change in leadership of the BJP Legislature Party in Karnataka,he said.

Yeddyurappa’s position became untenable despite his many moves to cling on to power after state Lokayukta Santosh Hegde – in a 25,000-odd page report – unambiguously stated that Yeddyurappa’s family trust had been paid off by the mining mafia.

Hegde categorically stated he wanted Governor H R Bhardwaj to act against the chief minister and all those involved in the illegal mining scam.

Yeddyurappa was summoned immediately to New Delhi by the high command and was in a huddle with BJP President Nitin Gadkari till 2 am.

He returned to Bangalore early in the morning and betrayed no anxiety,stating he had not been asked to quit. He has convened a meeting of his party MLAs in the Karnataka capital.

The party’s Parliamentary Board – its highest decision-making body – met in the morning amid signs that Yeddyurappa was not willing to go of his own accord.

Ending the uncertainty over the 68-year-old Yeddyurappa’s fate – who headed the BJP’s first government in the south – the BJP Board unanimously went for a change in leadership in Karnataka and “advised” him to resign immediately.

Upon his arrival in Delhi last evening with his ministers and close confidants,Yeddyurappa had appeared defiant and repeatedly said he has not been asked to resign.

In the meeting with the party president and senior leaders Rajnath Singh,M Venkaiah Naidu and Dharmendra Pradhan,the political fallout of the Lokayukta report was discussed with the chief minister.

The chief minister had tried to convince the central leadership that the charges made in the report were not new and a court case was already pending in the matter.

However,the central leadership had conveyed to him that his continuance would weaken BJP’s fight against corruption,especially when the Monsoon Session of Parliament begins next week.

The Thursday morning meeting was attended among others by L K Advani,Sushma Swaraj,Arun Jaitley,Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu. BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman said the Board’s decision has been conveyed to Yeddyurappa and discounted suggestions of a possible rebellion in the Karnataka unit of the party.

Yeddyurappa has already informed Gadkari that he would abide by whatever decision taken by the party leadership,she said.

In Bangalore,some ministers and MLAs gathered at the Race Course residence of Yeddyurappa.

On Yeddyurappa convening a meeting of his party supporters,Former Karnataka BJP president and Udipi MP D V Sadananda Gowda said,“It is Yeddyurappa who built the party in Karnataka and has taken the party leadership there and given good governance. I don’t think he will do anything that will damage the party.”

“We will abide by the decision of the party board,” he said.

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