Bowing to pressure from B S Yeddyurappa, Bharatiya Janata Party appears set to replace Karnataka Chief Minister Sadanand Gowda with Lingayat leader Jagadish Shettar and an announcement is expected within a week.
"A decision from the high command is likely to be conveyed within a week. We have left everything to the party leadership now. Their decision will be acceptable to us," Shettar, who holds the rural development portfolio, told PTI.
Sources said BJP president Nitin Gadkari has come around to the view that Shettar, a Yeddyurappa loyalist, should be the next chief minister.
The decision will have to be ratified by the BJP Parliamentary Board, the highest decision-making body of the party, but most members are in agreement on the issue in view of the damage caused by constant threats from dissidents in the last four years.
Though the party had earlier indicated that the leadership change was expected to take place after the July 19 Presidential poll, the sources said this has been advanced by a few days in view of the Karnataka Assembly session commencing on July 16.
Sources said BJP Parliamentary Party leader L K Advani is not very keen on choosing the third chief minister in this assembly and feels the party should go for fresh elections.
Moreover, Advani is not inclined to have another nominee of Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister. Corruption charges against Yeddyurappa had dented the impact of Advani's yatra against graft and black money.
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and party general secretary Ananth Kumar are also not in agreement with making a Yeddyurappa loyalist the Chief Minister but they may not press the matter further.
Looking at past examples, Gadkari is likely to prevail over the parliamentary board and have his way by making Shettar the chief minister, sources said. Other members of the board support his view.
Sources said an announcement on June 9-10 is expected. However, there is still no clarity on whether a deputy chief minister would be appointed to placate the other factions.
Image: Jagdish Shettar