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The race for chief minister’s kursi is heading for a nail biting finish as the rival factions rooting for BJP MP DV Sadananda Gowda and Rural Development minister Jagadish Shettar show no signs of compromise, even as BJP national leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley held late night parleys to evolve a consensus on Yeddyurappa’s successor.
The BJP national leadership is desperately trying to avoid a contest at Wednesday’s BJP legislature party meeting. The party fears threat of destabilisation by the losing faction. “Our mission would be to see that the election of new leader leads to stable government,” said Jaitely while leaving for Bangalore.
The no holds barred approach adopted by both the factions to lure MLAs from each other’s camps to swell their ranks has further rattled the BJP national leadership. The developments have fuelled possibilities of looking at options beyond the two candidates.
The entry of religious leaders representing Lingayat community added a new dimension to the contest as both Yeddyurappa and Shettar compete to get the blessings of Siddaganga mutt seer Sri Shivakumara Swamiji, the most revered pontiff of Lingayat community.
Shettar’s support base is said to have risen to 60 while the Yeddyurappa camp is seeing silent desertions with its numbers falling to a little over 50. The Reddys from Bellary were actively engaged with the Shettar camp and 11 BJP MLAs whose disqualification was quashed recently too have joined the Shettar brigade.
With the tide going against him, Yeddyurappa, according to sources has suggested the names of CM Udasi, Basavaraj Bommai and Murugesh Nirani for the top post from his camp to foil Shettar’s chances.
Coming out after holding preliminary talks with Rajnath Singh, Bommai said, “the election of new leader will be a smooth affair. We are hopeful of the chances of Sadananda Gowda. It will be decided at Wednesday’s BJP legislature party meeting.”