Bangalore: Karnataka BJP legislators are all set to elect their new leader on Friday to succeed corruption-tainted Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, who quit yesterday following his indictment in the illegal mining scam by the Lokayukta. The meeting to elect the new leader of the BJP legislative party will be attended by senior leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh, who will arrive here today.As per reports, the two leaders from the national capital will reach Bangalore in the afternoon. However, there still remains some confusion over the venue where the crucial meeting is to be held.
Today’s meeting has been necessitated by beleaguered Chief Minister’s resignation in the wake of his indictment by the state’s Lokayukta, N Santosh Hegde’s report on illegal mining.
Under intense pressure from all quarters, a defiant Yeddyurappa finally relented and resigned on Thursday.
In a press statement released from his office, the Karnataka CM confirmed that he will put in his papers on July 31.
Yeddyurappa said, “I have decided to tender my resignation as the Chief Minister of Karnataka as per the party’s directions. I have toiled hard for 40 years to build the party from scratch.”
“The month of ‘Ashada’ (considered inauspicious) will be over on July 30. I will be tendering my resignation as Chief Minister on the forenoon of July 31,” he said last night.
“I will continue to work for the development of the party in the state in future also, ” he added.
BJP sources said that Yeddyurappa sent his resignation to BJP president Nitin Gadkari following a meeting with the party high-command late last night. He is also believed to have raised objections over the names of his arch-rivals including Anant Kumar for the chief minister’s post.
He is believed to have told Gadkari that his future in the southern state must be protected.
Although, BJP seems to be a little relieved with Yeddyurappa’s resignation, the political crisis in the southern state is still not over as the outgoing leader is still adamant on making his close associate Sadanand Gowda the next Chief Minister of Karnataka.
Yeddyurappa made his intentions clear after holding a meeting of his close confidants at his residence to discuss the next course of action.
On Thursday, eight ministers, two MPs and several BJP legislators had gathered at the Race Course residence of Yeddyurappa, who returned to Bangalore this morning after parleys with the BJP leadership in New Delhi which went on till 2 am.
It should be noted that Lokayukta Santosh Hegde had indicted Yeddyurappa for his role in the state’s illegal mining business and alleged that he received kickbacks for favouring mining barons.
“The illegal mining business has caused a loss of Rs 16,085 crores to the state’s exchequer between 2006 and 2010,” Hegde had said addressing a press conference after submitting a huge 25,228-page long explosive report on illegal mining before chief secretary SV Ranganath.
In damning evidence against the Chief Minister, Justice Hegde had claimed that Yeddyurappa and his family have been beneficiaries of the largesse of mining companies.
“A mining company named the South West Mining Company, owned by Jindals, donated Rs 10 crore to a trust owned by Chief Minister’s family members. The company also purchased one acre of land for Rs 20 crore from the trust far above the guidance value. This makes for an offence under Prevention of Corruption Act,” the Lokayukta said.
The report further alleges that an educational trust run by the Chief Minister’s family allegedly received large sums of money in donations from mining companies.