Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Thursday agreed to step down hours after the party leadership asked him to quit immediately, a day after his severe indictment by Lokayukta in the illegal mining scam.
Sources close to the Chief Minister said 68-year-old Yeddyurappa, heading the BJP's first government in the South since May 2008, will officially tender his resignation to Governor H R Bharadwaj on July 31.
The sources said the Chief Minister has agreed to abide by the decision taken by the BJP Central Parliamentary Board this morning. Yeddyurappa's decision to quit is believed to have been conveyed to party president Nitin Gadkari.
The tactic of Yeddyurappa apparently to buy some time before tendering his resignation to the Governor fuelled speculation he wants to have a say on the choice of his successor, the new ministry and key party issues before finally yielding to BJP Parliamentary Board's diktat. Astrological reasons were also being cited for the chief minister to formally put in his papers only on July 31.
After a 70-minute meeting in Delhi presided by Gadkari, the Parliamentary Board unanimously decided there has to be a change in the leadership of the BJP legislature party in Karnataka.
Accordingly, BJP spokesman Ravishankar Prasad said the Board has "advised" Yeddyurappa, a popular Lingayat leader, to tender his resignation "immediately" bringing to an end the uncertainty over his fate after his indictment.
The Board, the party's highest decision making body, also decided to send senior leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley as observers to Bangalore tomorrow to oversee the election of the new leader of the BJP legislature party.
The names doing the rounds are State BJP president KS Eshwarappa, Lok Sabha MP Sadanand Gowda, Higher Education Minister V S Acharya, Law and Justice Minister Suresh Kumar S, party national general secretary and MP Ananth Kumar, Rural Development minister Jagadish Shettar, a Lingayat leader and Yeddyurappa's close associate and minister Shoba Karandlaje.