Bangalore, Jul 31 : Former state BJP President D V Sadananda Gowda today appeared to emerge as key contender to succeed Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who is believed to have suggested his name to the central leadership.
According to party sources, Yeddyurappa is slated to tender his resignation to the Governor H R Bhardwaj any time after 1 pm today, after which his successor is to be elected at a legislature party meeting.
The list of chief ministerial probables included ministers V S Acharya, Jagadish Shettar and Shobha Karandlaje and party general seceratary H N Ananthkumar, but Gowda seems to be ahead of the other contenders, the sources said.
Yeddyurappa met party observers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh and was closetted with them for some time.
“In Karnataka BJP, brighter days would come with ‘Shravana” month starting today,” said Gowda, a Lok Sabha member.
It was under Gowda as the state unit President that the BJP rode to power in 2008. The “sympathy factor” after JDS refused to “transfer” power to the BJP under a coalition government helped the latter in no small measure, as also projecting Yeddyurappa, who built the party from scratch over three decades, as the Chief Ministerial candidate.
Meanwhile, the MLAs lobbying for continuation of Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister have admitted that their efforts have not succeeded, but insisted they would stand-by him and push for his nominee as the successor.
Yeddyurappa's camp is pushing for making him the state unit president, who would have a key role in distribution of ticket in the next elections, due in May 2013.
Sources in the central BJP, for whom the script didn't go as per plan as Yeddyurappa flexed his muscle in the legislature party for the last three days, said as a Chief Minister, there is nothing wrong in his giving “suggestions”on his successor.
Earlier, ending three days of suspense, Yeddyurappa today sent his resignation to BJP President Nitin Gadkari and expressed his “full support” to the party.
Yeddyurappa, who was asked by the Central leadership to quit after the state Lokayukta indicted him in mining issue, faxed the letter to Gadkari who accepted it, party sources said here.
In the letter, the Chief Minister has given reasons for the delay in putting in his papers and cited astrological issues as the main cause, they said.
The sources said Yeddyurappa, who became Chief Minister after installing BJP's first government in the South, will seek an appointment with Governor H R Bhardwaj and formally submit his resignation.
After his tense standoff with the BJP leadership, Yeddyurappa had said he would tender his resignation today after the party reportedly assured him that his views would be considered while choosing his successor. 68-year-old Yeddyurappa made the fresh affirmation yesterday falling in line with the directive of the party leadership which took a tough stand.
The BJP Parliamentary Board had on Thursday asked Yeddyurappa to resign immediately, but the Lingayat strongman mobilised his loyalist MLAs and ministers who insisted on his continuance, in a sign of defiance.
However, he issued a press statement yesterday saying that he would step down this afternoon. In his letter to Gadkari, Yeddyurappa vowed to “stand by the party” and expressed “full support” to it, the sources said.
Yeddyurappa's successor is also likely to be announced today with the names of Lok Sabha MP Sadanand Gowda, Ministers V S Acharya and Suresh Kumar S doing the rounds for the top post.
However, a dark horse from the Yeddyurappa camp may also emerge as a choice for the job.
Yeddyurappa has been opposing the appointment of BJP General Secretary Anant Kumar and his cabinet colleague Jagdish Shattar, also from the Lingayat community, as the next chief minister. PTI