New Delhi: Senior BJP leader and former Karanataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa has once again raised the flag of revolt against the party leadership over the post of the chief minister in the state. Yeddyurappa upped the ante against current Karnata Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, demanding that Rural Development and Panchayatraj Minister Jagdish Shettar should be given the post.
With Yeddyurappa facing CBI inquiry in the illegal mining issue, his camp, gunning for Gowda, has been pushing for the candidature of Shettar.
The BJP Core Group will meet at 4 pm on Thursday at party president Nitin Gadkari's residence to take stock of the situation in Karnataka.
Yeddyurappa, however, refused to speak to media. "Anytime I want to speak I will come to you, I will not speak to any press or media for the next one month," he said. When asked to respond on Yeddyurappa's demand, Gowda said, "As I have said before, there is no vacancy (for the CM's post). I will complete full term."
The BJP government in Karnataka sought to showcase achievements of its four-year rule even as speculation persisted over change of leadership of Gowda.
Gowda advanced his press conference by a couple of hours on Thursday and postponed a scheduled dinner for the media tonight as he planned a sudden visit to Delhi to meet the party's central leaders in the wake of a renewed bid by the BS Yeddyurappa faction seeking his scalp.
Asked about his Delhi visit, he said: "As a Chief Minister, going to Delhi can't be questioned by anybody. At present I have got certain works in Delhi. So I need to go there".
He also dismissed reports of change of leadership, saying there had been "speculation" ever since the party came to power in the State. "It (speculation) continues".
But minutes later, the Chief Minister cancelled the trip after the high-command let it be known that there is no need for him to come to the capital, party sources said.
Earlier, the leadership tussle in the BJP Government intensified with state unit President KS Eshwarappa also throwing his hat in the ring, publicly acknowledging that he is also in the race to become the Chief Minister.
"A few ministers, legislators came to me and affectionately told me to get elected as Chief Minister. I won't deny that", Eshwarappa had said.
Several Yeddyurappa loyalists including state ministers CM Udasi, MP Renukacharya, Basavaraja Bommai and Murugesh Nirani, have been pressing in recent days to convene a legislator party meeting to discuss what they say legislators' grievances but in reality to challenge Gowda's leadership.
Gowda has shied away from calling such a meeting, saying he would do so only with the approval of the party's central leadership.
Assembly elections in Karnataka are due in May 2013.
(With additional inputs from PTI)