As Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa resigned on Monday in Bengaluru after weeks of speculation, part of the action shifted to New Delhi and the national leadership of the BJP, which now has the task of evolving a consensus over his replacement.
According to top sources in the BJP, general secretary organisation of the party and Karnataka leader B.L. Santhosh has left for Bengaluru. Possible central observer, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and national general secretary in charge of Karnataka Arun Singh are also likely to fly down to Bengaluru in a day. While no date for a legislature party meeting has been set till now, it will be sooner rather than later.
Sources also said while many names were floating as a replacement for Mr. Yediyurappa, the priority would be chose from among the existing MLAs and only if a consensus after consulting MLAs was not arrived at, would someone other than an MLA be considered.
“We are to face elections after two years, and the leadership should be such that would run for the next five years, that is why Yediyurappa (78) has been asked to resign,” said a source.
Among the Lingayat contenders, sources said, were Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, Mines Minister Murgesh Nirani and Home and Law Minister Basavaraj Bommai. If the consensus is not reached around these candidates then another candidate would be proposed. If a Brahmin candidate is to be brought forward, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi or even Speaker Vishweshwara Kageri’s names are also popping up in discussions.
In any scenario, the situation in Karnataka has become a little more complex than in other States where the BJP effected a change in leader, as Mr. Yediyurappa mustered a show of support from Lingayat Mutts and leaders and also declared his intention to stay active in politics.