BJP mulls damage control plan for Karnataka

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 15, 2012 21:47 hrs

New Delhi/Bangalore: With its former Karnataka chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa saying he will quit the party soon, the BJP Monday summoned the state unit chief K.S. Eshwarappa to New Delhi to chalk out plan for damage control.

Eshwarappa, who is also a deputy chief minister, was to meet BJP chief Nitin Gadkari late Monday to discuss whether to take action against Yeddyurappa or ignore his outburst and wait for him to leave the party in December as he has announced.

"I am here to discuss organization matters," Eshwarappa, whose term as Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party chief is set to end December, told reporters in Delhi on arrival.

He declined to react to Yeddyurappa's frequent attacks on the party and his threat Saturday that the Jagadish Shettar ministry would fall if his supporters in the party are troubled.

There is speculation in BJP circles in Karnataka that the party leadership might announce a new chief for the state unit soon as a rebuff to Yeddyurappa, who has been trying for the post since he was forced to give up chief ministership July last year over mining bribery charges.

The speculation stems from the fact that two likely candidates, Prahlad Joshi and Nailn Kumar Kateel, both Lok Saba members from Karnataka, to succeed Eshwarappa accompanied him to New Delhi. Eshwarappa, however, played down their presence.

Asked whether one of them will be named new Karnataka BJP head after talks with Gadkari, Eshwarappa maintained that organizational matters would be discussed.

The BJP's damage control exercise and move to name a new state chief comes as state assembly elections are due May next year and Yeddyurappa has announced he will quit the party in December to launch his own party.

He has begun meeting his supporters district-wise. Karnataka has 30 districts and its assembly has 225 members, 224 elected and one nominated.

The BJP managed to come to power for the first time in the state in May 2008 though it won 110 seats, three short of majority. It secured the support of six independents and formed the government with Yedddyurappa as chief minister.

However the party heads to the next polls with its third chief minister, Shettar, in power. Shettar took over last July after Yeddyurappa rebelled against D.V. Sadananda Gowda who had succeeded him in August last year.

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