Bangalore, Feb 23: In a show of strength, BJP strongman of Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa today mobilised a sizeable number of legislators at a meeting convened by him apparently to exert pressure on the party central leadership to reinstate him as chief minister.
Yeddyurappa also roped in Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar and Home Minister R Ashoka who were in rival camp when he backed D V Sadananda Gowda to succeed him after being forced to quit as chief minister last August over his indictment in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.
Yeddyurappa's “demonstration” ahead of BJP President Nitin Gadkari's arrival here tonight to preside over a two-day brainstorming session for the ruling party legislators beginning tomorrow is seen as an attempt to step up pressure on the party leadership to reinstate him as chief minister.
“We discussed the current political situation, on the coming Udupi-Chikamagalur Lok Sabha byelection and on strengthening the party organisation,” the party's state unit president K S Eshwarappa told reporters here, adding the issue giving “position” to Yeddyurappa did not come up for discussion.
Party sources said a team of state BJP leaders would meet Gadkari and brief him on the happenings in the party and government.
It's no secret that Yeddyurappa has fallen out with Sadananda Gowda, who was hand-picked by him for chief ministership, as the latter was seen in recent times of seeking to assert himself and coming out of Yeddyurappa's shadow.
“Sadananda Gowda should vacate the place in favour of Yeddyurappa. The state needs Yeddyurappa's leadership,” MLA B P Harish, a staunch loyalist of the former chief minister, told reporters before the meeting.
Harish said Gowda is giving an impression that he became an MLC because of JDS, which had abstained in the bypoll apparently in support of the chief minister, and seem to be indebted to that party and not working for BJP's development.
According to sources, the style of functioning of Gowda came in for flak, while some ministers complained in private that they are not being taken into confidence, and a few others pushed for Cabinet expansion noting the vacant berths and Gowda holding nearly two dozen departments.
Gowda drove to the Race Course residence of Yeddyurappa, the meeting place, for a brief-while before flying to Mangalore to attend a function.
Meanwhile, sources in RSS and the party central leadership say unseating Gowda is not on the cards and Yeddyurappa needs to first come clean from court cases against him.