Showing that he still calls the shots, Karnataka BJP strongman B S Yeddyurappa has played the caste card to the hilt, bringing in fellow Lingayat Jagadish Shettar to replace D V Sadananda Gowda as chief minister.
Ironically, Yeddyuprappa had himself ensured the defeat of Shettar 11 months ago and installed Gowda as Chief Minister, but soon fell out with him. Since then he has stuck to a one point agenda of removing Gowda, charging him with being influenced by opposition JDS and not taking his ministers into confidence.
Yeddyurappa was forced to quit on July 31 last year after being indicted in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining. Even after doing so, he held sway over party legislators and most ministers, which helped him to extract a solution suiting him.
This change in power equation in Karnataka makes it the second change of guard in the four-year BJP rule in the state.
Meanwhile, party sources said Gowda would call on Governor H R Bhardwaj tomorrow and formally submit his resignation after his successor is named in the Legislature party meeting.
BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh would arrive here tomorrow as observers for the election of Shettar as the new legislature party leader.
In another development, Gowda's resignation has triggered protests from his Vokkaliga community, with its leaders planning state-wide protests tomorrow.