The BJP central leadership on Sunday officially bowed to the nearly six months dissidence by its party legislators in Karnataka to remove D V Sadananda Gowda from chief minister's post by asking him to step down and pave the way for party's old guard Jagadish Shettar.
Though the change in leadership was imminent, party's satraps in New Delhi were hoping it would die down. But the resignations of nine ministers including CM designate Shettar a fortnight ago escalated the dissidence making the leaders to give a serious thought to finally ask Gowda to give up his 11 month old tenure as CM.
Things moved swiftly on Sunday morning with Gowda meeting BJP national president Nitin Gadkari at 9 am where he handed over his resignation. As Gowda left for Bangalore by noon, Shettar's name was announced by Gadkari setting the pace for the formation of a new BJP ministry for the third time in four years. If Shettar is lucky and has a smooth sailing, his tenure is till May 2013.
Shettar is expected to form his ministry over the course of this week. The BJP has deputed Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley as observers who will be arriving in Bangalore on Monday late evening.
The BJP legislators's meeting is scheduled on July 10 where Shettar will be formally declared elected as their leader following which Gowda and he will be calling on governor H R Bhardwaj. Gowda will submit his resignation to the governor with Shettar staking claim to succeed him. His oath -taking as CM as of now is scheduled on July 11, when a small ministry will be sworn in with the legislature session commencing from July 16.
Queried by the media as to why Gowda was being replaced, Gadkari said: "The performance of BJP government was very good under Gowda. There were no complaints against him on grounds of corruption but he had to resign keeping the party's interest in mind. With the assembly elections just 10 months away, the party has realized that we have to fight under a Lingayat leader to put up a good show.''
Aware that it had taken a step, which was not totally rightful and had succumbed to a group's whim, the party leadership has reportedly decided to rehabilitate Gowda gracefully. Gadkari is learnt to have offered him in the Rajya Sabha seat, which Gowda has declined and has set his eyes on the BJP party president's post. Though dethroned from the CM's post, he would be calling the shots during the elections with regard to distribution of tickets, if made the president.