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A file photo of Former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa

A file photo of Former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa

Gadkari rebuffs BSY demand for reinstatement

Gadkari rebuffs BSY demand for reinstatement

Bangalore: Despite an aggressive campaign by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B.S. Yeddyurappa for his reinstatement as Karnataka chief minister, party president Nitin Gadkari has ruled out the possibility of a leadership change in the state.

“Sadananda Gowda is leading the government now. The question of changing the leadership does not arise," Gadkari said on Friday.

A file photo of Former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa

According to some media reports, Yeddyurappa has set a deadline of 27 February for him to be reinstated as chief minister or given a senior position in the party.

Gadkari denied that there was any such deadline while maintaining that Yeddyurappa remains a “popular party leader in Karnataka and a popular face of the party in the state".

The BJP president also indicated that Yeddyurappa could be considered for the chief minister’s post again if he was cleared in the illegal mining case. “After getting justice, the party will definitely honour him," he said.

This is not the first time that Yeddyurappa has set a deadline for his reinstatement. Earlier, he had set a deadline of 15 January. At that time, representatives from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, the ideological parent of the BJP, had brokered peace between state BJP President K.S. Eshwarappa, Yeddyurappa, and chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda.

The demands by Yeddyurappa mark a breakdown in the relationship between him and Gowda. After Yeddyurappa was forced to step down, he had backed Gowda for the top post over rural development minister Jagadish Shettar.

But recently Shettar and Yeddyurappa have buried their differences. Both belong to the Lingayat caste, the single largest community in the state comprising around 17% of the population.

Yeddyurappa’s latest move is being seen as a means of exerting pressure on the national leadership to give the chief minister’s post to a Lingayat.

Several party members and cabinet ministers believe Yeddyurappa will play a key role in the next assembly election, due in 2013. The party had fought the previous assembly and parliamentary elections under Yeddyurappa and won 108 of the 220 assembly seats and 19 of the 24 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Gadkari announced that a team from Karnataka unit of the BJP has been invited to Delhi on 3 March to sort out the internal differences.

PTI contributed to this story.


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