Sadanand Gowda

Sadanand Gowda

Gowda resigns as Karnataka CM, to be replaced by Shettar

Gowda resigns as Karnataka CM, to be replaced by Shettar

New Delhi: Ending the political impasse in Karnataka triggered by factional politics in the BJP, Chief Minister Sadanand Gowda resigned on Sunday to be replaced by Jagadish Shettar, a second change of chief minister in 11 months.

The BJP high command bowed to Lingayat leader B S Yeddyurappa’s demand for the change in view of the Assembly elections due early next year and agreed to replace 59-year-old Gowda, a Vokkaliga leader, with Rural Development minister Shettar, 56, who is a Lingayat.

Sadanand Gowda

Senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley will go to Bengaluru on Monday to oversee the formal election of Shettar as chief minister of Karnataka by the party MLAs.

Asked if deputy chief ministers would also be appointed by the party as was reported earlier, Gadkari said no such decision has been taken on this issue. With the Assembly elections just 10 months away, the BJP central leadership realised that to put up a “good show", it will have to fight under the leadership of Yeddyurappa, whom many see as the undisputed leader of the Lingayat community which has always voted for the party, BJP sources said.

Shettar will stake his claim to form the govenment after Gowda formally submits his resignation to Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj which is expected by Wednesday, the sources said. Shettar will be the third chief minister in the present BJP government which came to power in 2008. Yeddyurappa, who led the party to victory then, had to step down after he was indicted by the Lokayukta in a graft case.

Gowda had taken over from him in August 2011. Though Gadkari did not specify the new role of Gowda and maintained his services will be used both at the state and the national level, it is likely that he will be given a Rajya Sabha ticket.

Gowda himself is reportedly not keen on becoming Karnataka unit chief, a post he has held in the past, the sources said. Gadkari asked the party unit in Karnataka to work unitedly and give a good result in the Assembly elections.

But with the party remaining a divided house in the southern state, it is unclear how long this peace will last. Interestingly, when Gadkari made the announcement about Gowda’s resignation, the outgoing chief minister was not by his side.

Gowda exited from a backdoor at Gadkari’s residence after submitting his resignation to the party chief. Gadkari was all praise for Gowda, saying he had provided a “good and clean" administration to Karnataka in the 11 months that he was at the helm of affairs.

On his part, Gowda did not show any resentment at being asked to put in his papers, saying he was an “obedient soldier" of the party. “The verdict given by the central leadership has been whole-heartedly accepted by me. I will be a loyal worker of the party. I would like to see that the remaining period of my party’s administrative time is good enough. The incoming chief minister will get all sort of cooperation from me," he said. He hoped the people “bless" his party once again in the Assembly polls.

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