Gadkari,however,tried to mollify the sulking BJP strongman,saying the party respects him. “Sadananda Gowda is leading the government now. The question of changing the leadership does not arise,” Gadkari told reporters after addressing the party legislators at the ‘Chintan Manthan’ here,which was curtailed to a one-day affair in the wake of political fissures.
Gadkari sought to put up a brave front in the wake of the power struggle triggered by Yeddyurappa’s intensified bid to regain the chief ministership,saying “first of all there is no political crisis in Karnataka. The party is united. The party is very much committed for the progress and development of Karnataka”.
In a show of strength,Yeddyurappa had yesterday hosted a lunch to MLAs,MLCs and MPs and sought their support for his campaign to get a position either as chief minister or the state unit party President and raised the demand during his meeting with Gadkari.
Gadkari admitted there were “small problems”. “Karnataka Core Group has been invited to Delhi probably on March 3 to solve them. We will solve them,” he said.
Asked about the February 27 deadline set by Yeddyurappa to the party to decide on his demand for a “position”,Gadkari claimed there was no such ultimatum. “Yeddyurappa is party’s popular leader in Karnataka and a popular face of the party in the state. The party respects him”.
Gadkari said the BJP has reservations over the Lokayukta report on illegal mining (that indicted Yeddyurappa leading to his exit as chief minister in July last year).
“The report has done injustice to Yeddyurappa. Yeddyurappa has challenged it,” he said but declined to comment on the role played by Governor H R Bhardwaj on this issue.
“I hope Yeddyurappa would get justice early. After getting justice,the party will definitely honour him (reinstating him as chief minister)”,Gadkari said indicating that the former chief minister has to come clean from the cases he faced.
Gadkari said he has requested all leaders to concentrate on the March 18 bypoll to Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat,which he described as “very important” for BJP. The poll has been necessitated by the resignation of Sadananda Gowda as Lok Sabha member after his election as MLC recently.
The chinthan manthan which was expected to discuss organisational issues,the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha bypoll and given lessons on morality and discipline to the legislators came to an abrupt end after leaders addressed it at a private resort here.
The decision to curtail the brain storming session came in the backdrop of heightened power struggle set off by Yeddyurappa.
Announcing the cancellation of second day sitting,state BJP spokesman C T Ravi told reporters that the decision was taken to devote attention to the Udupi-Chikmagalur bypoll.