Bangalore, June 29: Eight ministers loyal to B.S. Yeddyurappa submitted their resignations today, intensifying their campaign for a leadership change in Karnataka’s BJP government.
The resignations were handed over to chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who the ministers want replaced with their own man.
Gowda refused to receive the resignation of a ninth minister, Shobha Karandlaje, as she had sent it with the others. Out of station, she is expected to submit the papers tomorrow.
Among other demands, the group of eight wants Gowda replaced by Jagadish Shettar, a rival-turned-ally of Yeddyurappa who is also from the politically influential Lingayat caste like the tainted former chief minister.
A tenth minister, Raju Gowda, said he would resign tomorrow.
Gowda said he would not accept the resignations before consulting the party’s central leadership. He is expected to meet governor H.R. Bhardwaj tomorrow morning.
Yeddyurappa was not available for comment. He had announced yesterday that he would follow a 30-day maun vrat (vow of silence).
“We had to resign because our demands were not met,” Basavaraj Bommai, one of the eight ministers, told reporters outside the residence of Shettar where they were in a huddle after resigning.
“There has been no working arrangement between the CM and the ministers. Some MLAs have also complained they were not getting adequate attention from the CM,” Bommai added.
But in an indication that the rebels do not want to trigger the collapse of the government, Bommai said: “The differences can be sorted out by the high command.”
The BJP switched to damage-control mode. Party president Nitin Gadkari spoke to Gowda over phone. Sources said he had promised total support to the chief minister and ruled out a leadership change.
Gowda, too, was holed up later with his supporters, some of whom have threatened to quit en masse if he is replaced.