Yeddy in Delhi to mount pressure on BJP

New Delhi: BJP central leadership appears set to reinstate former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa in the wake of his revolt, on a day the party suffered a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha by election in Udupi-Chikmagalur. Yeddyurappa arrived here tonight with a clutch of supporters claiming he has no demands but his mission was obvious in that he would be meeting senior party leaders L K Advni, Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley.

"I will accept whatever responsibility they will give me in future," he told reporters in Bangalore before leaving for Delhi. In the capital, he said he had not set any ultimatum or deadline to the party and left it to the leadership to take any decision. "I have not asked for anything. They are not giving me anything," said the former Karnataka Chief Minister who was forced to step down last year in the wake of Lokayukta indictment in the mining scandal.

He stepped up his campaign for reinstatement ever since the Karnataka High Court set aside the Lokayukta order. Gadkari also reached the capital this evening and will hold a meeting with Yeddyurappa. The BJP top brass appears to have come around to the view that Yeddyurappa should be reinstated but it wanted him to wait till the process of biennial Rajya Sabha polls are completed on March 30.

However, with BJP losing the Udipi-Chikmagalur by-election by a huge margin of 45,724 votes and his decision to put up a rebel Rajya Sabha candidate seems to have speeded up Yeddyurappa`s return. BJP insiders said dissidence in the party and the image battered by corruption charges were the main reasons for the defeat of BJP candidate V Sunil Kumar from the Udipi-Chikmagalur seat.

The seat was vacated by Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadanand Gowda when he replaced Yeddyurappa yet the BJP lost the seat. Yeddyurappa had also put up a rebel candidate for the Rajya Sabha and announced that he and his MLAs will boycott the on-going budget session in Karnataka. However, he toned down when the Central leadership appeared conciliatory.

Party sources said a Core Group meeting is likely to be called by Gadkari soon to discuss the issue. Since the decision to remove Yeddyurappa after he was indicted by the Karnataka Lokayukta in an illegal mining case was taken by the Core Group, the same body will have to reinstate him. Yeddyurappa`s open defiance of the party high command since the Karnataka High Court quashed the Lokayukta case against him is costing the party dear. He claims to have the support of around 66 MLAs and 12 MPs from the state.