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BJP sharpens Yeddy knife
BS Yeddyurappa

New Delhi, Nov. 21: The BJP has asked the Karnataka chief minister to step down, hoping to turn the tables on the Congress at the Centre if B.S. Yeddyurappa relents despite displaying initial signs of belligerence.

The BJP leadership made up its mind after fresh corruption allegations surfaced against Yeddyurappa and his family yesterday, sources said.

Yeddyurappa has been asked to put in his papers “at the earliest” so that the BJP can relaunch its 2G spectrum offensive against the Prime Minister “on a clean slate”, the sources said.

If Yeddyurappa does resign, pressure will mount on the Congress to accept the Opposition demand for a joint parliamentary committee on 2G spectrum. Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to hold talks with BJP leader Sushma Swaraj tomorrow before Parliament convenes

Although Yeddyurappa was “defiant” and put off his visit to the capital until tomorrow, the BJP’s core committee that met this morning at Nitin Gadkari’s residence to take the “final” view was unanimous that the longer he stayed, the “worse it was for the party’s image”.

According to documents released by the Janata Dal (Secular) in Bangalore, a series of cheque transactions showed that Rs 20 crore was allegedly transferred to the accounts of the chief minister’s sons and a son-in-law from a Bellary mining company this year.

The family said the money was the price for land it sold to the company but the Opposition has alleged illegal gratification to facilitate transgressions linked to mining.

Initially, the BJP leadership was willing to go half-way to placate a tough-talking Yeddyurappa by letting him choose his successor.

But after he declared today that “Yeddyurappa will be replaced by Yeddyurappa” and kept the party waiting the whole day when he was supposed to have taken a morning flight to Delhi, it was decided he must not be “indulged”.

While the BJP realises that the Karnataka decision might carry a cost, two factors proved decisive. “One, our campaign on corruption was losing credibility. Second, we had hoped to forge some kind of Opposition unity on 2G. This got thwarted when the Left and the others demanded Yeddyurappa’s ouster,” a source said.

Yeddyurappa claimed he had the support of “110 to 120” MLAs but BJP sources in Delhi put the number at “20 hardcore” loyalists.

The names doing the rounds for the next chief minister are Suresh Kumar and V.S. Acharya, both ministers.

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