Gowda camp fires salvo at BJP central leadership

Bangalore: In a last minute hitch, the ruling BJP Legislature party meeting to elect Jagadish Shettar as its leader was delayed this morning with outgoing Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda`s camp insisting on their demands being met.

Ministers and MLAs loyal to Gowda are believed to be pushing for making him the party`s state unit President, and K S Eshwarappa Deputy Chief Minister. They held a meeting at Gowda`s residence, in an apparent show of strength. They have also demanded equal number of ministerial berths to their camp, and announcing the names of Ministers and constitution of the Shettar cabinet at one go, sources said.

Transport and Home Minister R Ashoka is also making a vigorous behind-the-scenes moves to become Deputy Chief Minister, party sources said.

BJP central leaders Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh are already in the city as party observers for the legislature party meeting, which was slated to start at 11 AM, and offer guidance on ministry formation issues.

According to sources, BJP central leadership is not in favour of creating the post of Deputy Chief Minister. Buckling under pressure from Yeddyurappa, the BJP central leadership on Sunday decided to opt for a change of leadership in a bid to end the leadership tussle in the state unit.