Bangalore, Aug 3 : BJP legislature party meeting began here this afternoon to find a successor to Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa amid indications that a consensus for the leadership issue is elusive.
Arrangements have also been made for a secret ballot to meet any such eventuality, party sources said.
The process commenced more than an hour behind schedule as the central leadership appeared to make last-ditch efforts to build consensus on successor to Yeddyurappa, who quit on Sunday four days after the Lokayukta report indicted him on illegal mining.
Yeddyurappa has made it clear his choice is D V Sadananda Gowda, while the rival camp spearheaded by his bitter rival H N Ananth Kumar and state unit president K S Eshwarappa has propped up Jagadish Shettar.
"....if consensus is not there, secret ballot becomes inevitable", Shettar said before the meeting. "Discussion is still on. No decision has been taken (whether to go in for secret ballot)".
The meeting originally scheduled to be held shortly after Yeddyurappa tendered his resignation to Governor H R Bhardwaj on Sunday, was deferred to today, after central observers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh failed to break the deadlock on the leadership issue.
Indicating that the MLAs are divided on who should succeed Yeddyurappa, camp followers left separately in buses to the venue of the meeting, where Jaitley and Singh are tasked to oversee the transition process along with party in-charge for Karnataka Dharmendra Pradhan.
Yeddyurappa has opposed candidature of Shettar, a former state unit chief from the dominant Lingayat community, to which the former also belongs to.
He apparently does not want emergence of another leader from his community that may threaten his position.
"Efforts are on to have a consensus candidate. Ultimately, we are prepared for any decision of the central leadership -- consensus or through ballot," Water Resources Minister Basavaraja Bommai, a Yeddyurappa loyalist, said.
The possibility of emergence of a third candidate if the MLAs decide on the consensus was not ruled out. PTI