BSY loyalists up ante for top post

The factions are as active as ever in the ruling BJP with a team of ministers loyal to former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, likely to visit New Delhi sometime next week to lobby for the state president’s post for him.

Ever since he was dislodged from the CM’s post a year ago, Yeddyurappa has been sulking on the sidelines without being assigned any prime post though he continues to have a stifling grip on the Jagadish Shettar government.

The decision to send a delegation to Delhi, was taken by BSY loyalists at a meeting held at his residence on Friday. Those who participated in the meeting, felt there was nothing wrong in demanding the top party post for their mentor with the Assembly polls only 10 months away. They also suggested that Mr Yeddyurappa undertake a state-wide tour to strengthen the BJP.

Those who attended the meeting include ministers Shobha Karandlaje, Murgesh Nirani, Umesh Katti, Basavaraj Bommai, V. Somanna, M.P. Renukacharya, former minister Laxman Savadi, MLAs Karadi Sanganna and former MP, Kolur Basanagouda Patil. A source claimed Mr Yeddyurappa had called his supporters to discuss his state tour in August. “He wanted to know whether he should embark on a tour at all but we told him he should do it”, a minister who attended the meeting said.

“With the state in the grip of a severe drought, a tour is just the right move to whip up support for the BJP. Party state president K.S. Eshwarappa, who has been made deputy CM, can no longer devote himself to BJP affairs as he did in the past or strengthen the party base. Yeddyurappa can do this during his tour,” the minister added.

The reshuffle of portfolios also came up for discussion with ministers in the BSY camp expressing fears that they may lose their prime portfolios to rivals loyal to former CM D.V. Sadananda Gowda. Sources said Mr Yeddyurappa had promised them that he would not allow Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar—his nominee for the CM’s post—to change the portfolios of ministers close to him including those of Shobha Karandlaje, Umesh Katti, Basavaraj Bommai and Murugesh Nirani.

Mr Yeddyurappa also said that if the Chief Minister insisted on a minor reshuffle, he could take back the portfolios of the two deputy CMs to which the former CM said he would not object.

With pressure mounting on the CM to carry out a reshuffle, Mr Shettar rushed to the Dollars Colony residence of Mr Yeddyurappa Friday evening to hold negotiations. Sources close to Mr Yeddyurapa told this newspaper that Mr Shettar tried his best to convince BSY on the need to reshuffle the portfolios to avoid another crisis in the party with the Sadananda Gowda group gunning for prime portfolios.

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