Bangalore/ New Delhi: Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa submitted his resignation to governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Sunday, three days after his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asked him to step down in the wake of his indictment by the state’s anti-corruption watchdog in an illegal mining scandal.
The party was yet to select a successor at the time of going to press.
Yeddyurappa walked to the Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation along with 60-70 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs), 20 members of the legislative council (MLCs) and 14 members of Parliament (MPs) of the BJP.
Bowing out : Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa (centre) talks to journalists after submitting his resignation to governor H.R. Bharadwaj at Raj Bhavan in Bangalore on Sunday. Photograph by AFP
“As a disciplined worker of the party, bowing to the decision of the party, I have stepped down as chief minister,” he said at the end of his controversy-ridden term.
Yeddyurappa, who belongs to the politically significant Lingayat community, led the BJP’s first government in a southern state for three years and two months.
But he had frequent run-ins with governor Bhardwaj as well as detractors in his own party, and had to prove his majority in the house three times.
Last year, he was on the verge of being forced to resign after being accused in a land scam, but the BJP retained him with an eye on village council elections after Lingayat community leaders campaigned for him.
On Wednesday, Karnataka’s Lokayukta (ombudsman) Santosh Hegde submitted his report on an illegal mining scandal, in which he put the loss to the exchequer at Rs 16,085 crore between 2006 and 2010.
The report recommended action “as per law” against the chief minister.
Yeddyurappa was summoned to New Delhi by the BJP, and following a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board on Thursday, he was asked to resign.
The chief minister said he would step down on 31 July after the end of the “inauspicious” month of Aashada, but then seemed to backtrack the next day, throwing the state into political turmoil.
On Sunday, however, he faxed his resignation to BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, even as the party held talks with top state unit leaders for a smooth transition.
“My government has been accused unfairly,” Yeddyurappa said in a statement. “In spite of indiscriminate attacks by the opposition, I have successfully run the first BJP government in south India.”
BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley, deputed to oversee the elections of Yeddyurappa’s successor, have been camping in Bangalore since Friday, when a meeting to elect the new leader of the legislature party was scheduled.
The meeting had to be cancelled after Yeddyurappa’s supporters launched a small rebellion backing him.
Former BJP state unit president D.V. Sadananda Gowda, a confidant of Yeddyurappa, has emerged as the front-runner for chief minister’s post.
“We have proposed the name of D. V. Sadananda Gowda as chief ministerial candidate,” Yeddyurappa said.
Gowda, an MP from Udupi-Chikmaglur constituency, is 58 years old and belongs to the Vokkaliga community.
Other contenders include state higher education minister V.S. Acharya, former Union minister Ananth Kumar, state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa and state minister for rural development and panchayati raj Jagadish Shettar.
PTI contributed to this report.