Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa sent his resignation to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari on Thursday evening, just a few hours after the party's Parliamentary Board asked him to step down following his indictment in the illegal mining case by Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde.
In his resignation letter Yeddyurappa told Gadkari that his future in the state must be protected.
However, officially a chief minister must send his resignation to the governor of the state. So Yeddyurappa should have sent his resignation letter to Governor HR Bhardwaj.
The BJP state leaders and MLAs will meet on Friday to elect a new chief minister. Senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh will be in Bangalore to supervise the selection of the new chief minister.
BJP Parliamentary Board met in New Delhi on Thursday and unanimously decided that Yeddyurappa must put in his papers. Karnataka leaders also said that they would follow the decision taken by the top leadership.
Several senior Karnataka BJP leader are in the race to replace Yeddyurappa. The leaders in the race include Ananth Kumar, Jagdish Shettar and KS Eshwarappa.
Jagdish Shettar, who is the Rural Development Minister is a front-runner for the post. An MLA from Hubli, Shettar is a Lingayat by caste. He was the leader of Opposition in 1999 when SM Krishna was the chief minister of Karnataka.
Karnataka state BJP chief KS Eshwarappa is also a strong contender for the post. This OBC leader is considered to be close to the RSS. He is Yeddyurappa's biggest rival and is also facing corruption charges, two factor that could go against him.
Ananth Kumar, the BJP National General Secretary, and Yeddyurappa's main detractor, has also thrown his hat into the ring. However, chances look slim for this Bangalore South Lok Sabha MP.
Among the dark horses are Higher Education Minister VS Acharya. A Brahmin by caste, sources say that Yeddyurappa may concede to the BJP MLA from Udupi.
The name of Law Minister Suresh Kumar, who has close RSS ties, is also doing the rounds. Yeddyurappa may concede to this Brahmin MLA from Bangalore.