Having kept the central leadership on tenterhooks throughout the day,rebel BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa announced in the evening that he had ”temporarily postponed” the decision to resign from the Assembly.
In a veiled threat to the top brass,the Karnataka leader also made it clear that he had the support of over 70 MLAs for any decision he takes.
Addressing the media,Yeddyurappa said: ”I wanted to resign as MLA but put it off after discussions with national leaders and others. I have respect for BJP central leaders.”
The former chief minister,fighting a mining taint,blamed CM Sadananda Gowda,party general secretary H N Ananth Kumar and state BJP chief K S Eswarappa for the present crisis.
The rebel leader had said he would take a decision today after consulting MPs,MLAs and supporters. Yeddyurappa has been fuming at the BJP central leadership for ignoring him,particularly after the Supreme Court order for a CBI probe into illegal mining during his tenure as chief minister.
Yeddyurappa,who visited Siddganga mut pontiff Shivakumara Swamiji of his Lingayat community,accused Ananth Kumar of feeding malicious information about him to BJP leader L K Advani.
Ananth Kumar made efforts to topple me from the chief ministership at least thrice earlier with the help of mine owners, Yeddyurappa alleged.
In a damage-control bid,Eshwarappa today ruled out accepting resignations of more than half a dozen MLAs and dropping ministers loyal to Yeddyurappa.
There is truth in the fact that about more than half a dozen MLAs and ministers have tendered their resignation to Yeddyurappa. However,the party will neither accept their resignations nor drop any ministers, he told reporters.
Meanwhile,MLAs and ministers loyal to Yeddyurappa met at a breakfast meeting today at his Race Course residence.
Sources close to Yeddyurappa said that he has been toying with the idea of quitting BJP,a development that would threaten the survival of the four-year-old BJP government,the first ever in the South.
Eight ministers loyal to Yeddyurappa have already handed over their resignation letters to their leader.
In another development,the BJP central leadership has reportedly rejected Yeddyurappa’s demand for change in the leadership of Sadananda Gowda. Minister for Power Shobha Karandlaje,who was sent as Yeddyurappa’s emissary to hold talks with the BJP central leadership is,returning empty handed.
As a last effort to save the situation,Eswarappa said the entire BJP was with Yeddyurappa. Eswarappa’s parleys with Yeddyurappa yesterday had failed to end the crisis.
In the 225-member Assembly,BJP has a strength of 120. Yeddyurappa claims to have the support of at least nine ministers and 45 MLAs.
Eshwarappa also said he had not received the resignation letters either from the ministers or the MLAs. I have been in touch with these MLAs and ministers and I am telling confidently as the state party chief that they will not quit, he said.
On Yeddyurappa praising Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her party for being supportive of leaders facing trouble unlike his own party,Eshwarappa said the BJP leadership had never left any of their leaders including L K Advani,Narendra Modi,Madan Lal Khurana and Uma Bharti in the lurch during crisis.
The BJP leadership has always stood behind Yeddyurappa and expressed hope he would come out clean in the illegal mining case,Eshwarappa said.
He also said he failed to understand the reason for Yeddyurappa to praise Sonia Gandhi and her party. I would like to make it clear that all BJP leaders,including central leaders are with Yeddyurappa, Eshwarappa said.
I think Yeddyurappa is giving such statements (praising Sonia Gandhi) out of pain. There is no question of Yeddyurappa quitting the party, he said.
Eswarappa also believed the crisis would be resolved soon.
Yeddyurappa,whose repeated attempts to regain the chief ministership have come to nought,also strongly attacked Anantkumar accusing him of “poisoning the mind” of party veteran leader L K Advani besides making three attempts to dislodge him and become chief minister.
He repeated his demand for convening the BJP legislature party meeting which had not been held since Gowda became chief minister last August after Yeddyurappa quit following his indictment by the Lokayukta on illegal mining.
“I have built the party with my sweat,” Yeddyurappa,largely credited for leading the BJP to power,said,adding he had reached a crucial stage wherein he would go back to the people and seek their guidance on the future course of action.