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Behind-the-scenes: Negotiations to elect K'taka CM

Last updated on: August 3, 2011 22:26 IST

Behind-the-scenes: Negotiations to elect K'taka CM

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

All's well that ends well - that is the picture you get when you look at what transcribed in Bharatiya Janata Party's crucial meeting on Wednesday. The meeting ended with the selection of Sadananda Gowda as the next chief minister of Karnataka.

One of the members of the legislative assembly who was present at the meeting said that everything was not hunky-dory as it may have seemed. The day began with meetings with both factions - Ananth Kumar and Yeddyurappa - with senior BJP leaders from New Delhi. All through the day senior leaders made attempts to bring about a consensus, but failed. 

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Image: Senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley

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The two factions even arrived at Hotel Capitol for BJP's legislative party meeting separately. The Ananth Kumar faction, which included Jagadish Shettar, arrived in two buses of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation around 11.40 am. Meanwhile, the Yeddyurappa faction was still holding talks with BJP leader Rajnath Singh.

Around 12, four buses of the Siddaganga travels arrived at the hotel with Yeddyurappa's supporters in it. However, only the MLAs were allowed inside and the MLCs and MPs were kept out and fifteen minutes later we got to see a sulking MP, D B Chandre Gowda storm out of the hotel.

It was almost 12.30 pm by the time the meeting started and what was expected to be a peaceful discussion turned into a heated debate.

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Image: Ousted Karnataka chief minister with newly elected CM Sadananda Gowda

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Behind-the-scenes: Negotiations to elect K'taka CM

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The leader who was present at the meeting said that both factions hurled allegations at each other. It took quite some time for the national leaders to address the MLAs. The Yeddyurappa camp started shouting slogans in favour of Gowda and when they went quiet, it was the turn of the other faction supporting Ananth Kumar.

Then followed a volley of allegations against each other and it almost came to turning ugly, but then both Jaitley and Rajnath made an emotional plea to both the parties to stay calm. Both of them said that after working so hard in building the party from scratch they should not ruin it by fighting among each other.

They said they had come from Delhi with a decision in mind. "We would want Gowda to be the chief minister and Shettar as deputy," the senior leaders said. This created yet another round of commotion with the Shettar camp demanding that there be a secret ballot since they believed he had the numbers.

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Image: Ananth Kumar

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The B S Yeddyurappa faction, however, said that there is no need for a ballot and they should go ahead with the decision that has been taken. However, the real problem for the Yeddyurappa camp was that they were afraid that there would be cross voting and hence they tried to go along with the decision instead of insisting on a secret ballot.

However, the Shettar faction was adamant and insisted that a secret ballot was held. When the national leaders finally agreed, it was Suresh Kumar, law minister, who stood up and said that he would not vote. "I belong to the BJP and not any of these factions and hence I do not want to be identified with anyone," Kumar said. While he earned an applause that lasted a short while, the MLAs went ahead with the voting.

It was a matter of time before the results were announced and Gowda was elected as the new leader. Although there was disappointment in the Shettar camp, they remained quiet. It was by this time, the grin on the face of Ananth Kumar had turned into a frown since he was unable to ensure that the candidate from his faction went through.

Just before the votes were counted, Yeddyurappa went up on the stage and proposed the name of Gowda. Surprisingly both Shettar and K S Eshwarappa who were aware of what the result would be seconded Gowda's name. At the end of it there were pleasantries which were exchanged and each one promised to work for the betterment of the party.


Image: Ex-Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa

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