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Hectic efforts on to save Karnataka's BJP government

New Delhi/Bangalore, May 13 - The Bharatiya Janata Party was Sunday struggling to save its government in Karnataka, as former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa slammed his successor and party leaders while praising Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who succeeded Yeddyurappa last Aug 4, met BJP president Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi Sunday to seek an early decision on ending the rebellion he is facing from the former chief minister and his supporters.

In Bangalore, state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa tried to placate Yeddyurappa, who earlier in the day called Gowda a 'traitor' and compared him to 'the devil quoting the scriptures'.

Eshwarappa met Yeddyurappa at his residence in upscale Dollars Colony in south Bangalore and assured him that the party was standing by him in the wake of Friday's Supreme Court order for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into corruption charges against him.

The assurance came as earlier in the day at a public function Yeddyurappa complimented Sonia Gandhi for standing by her party leaders whenever allegations were levelled against them.

He said that while Sonia Gandhi had such 'a good quality', it was the opposite in his own party. 'In our party such developments are used to trample on people,' Yeddyurappa said.

Describing the former chief minister as 'our leader', Eshwarappa told reporters after the meeting that 'Yeddyurappa ji has certain grievances. The problem will be resolved in a day or two'.

In New Delhi, Gowda declined to react to Yeddyurappa's attack on him.

He also downplayed the former chief minister praising Gandhi. 'I do not think he praised Sonia Gandhi,' Gowda told reporters in New Delhi.

Yeddyurappa and his supporters have been publicly demanding replacement of Gowda for weeks now.

They intensified the campaign Saturday, a day after the apex court order on CBI probe against Yeddyurappa.

As part of the pressure tactics he Saturday secured the resignation of at least seven ministers loyal to him.

Legislators supporting him are claiming that at least 40 of BJP's 120 legislators in the 225-member Karnataka assembly will also give their resignation letters to Yeddyurappa in the next two days.

Before meeting Yeddyurappa, Eshwarappa had talks with state Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders and also rural development minister Jagadish Shettar, whom Yeddyurappa and his supporters want to be made chief minister.

Yeddyurappa had opposed Shettar taking over from as both belong to the politically influential lingayat community. However he has now joined hands with Shettar to unseat Gowda.

As the factional fight plunged to new low Yeddyurappa's attack on Gowda, it has become virtually free for all in BJP which completes four years of its maiden rule in Karnataka May 30.

While Yeddyurappa loyalists are claiming that Gowda government will fall Monday, the chief minister's supporters, including municipal administration minister Balachandra Jarkiholi, are threatening that they will quit the assembly if he is replaced.

Jarkiholi claims that 61 of BJP's 120 legislators are with Gowda. He and many of them will quit the assembly to force an election if Gowda is replaced, he has been telling the media.

There is also intense speculation that Yeddyurappa may himself announce Monday that he will quit the assembly and send his and the resignations letters of legislators supporting him to party president Nitin Gadkari.



-IANS


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