The political crisis in Karnataka appears to be going out of hand. On one hand former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa has parked himself along with 55 of his loyalist MLAs in a resort in Bengaluru, while on the other hand 10 Lok Sabha members from Karnataka have threatened to quit in case the Bharatiya Janata Party's central leadership does not take a decision on a leadership change in the state.
Yeddyurappa, who has been cleared by the Karnataka high court in the illegal mining scam, has taken the party's central leadership head on and demanded his reinstatement as CM.
The central leadership, which had assured some action after the conclusion of the assembly elections, is, however, yet to act on its promise. The former chief minister led a massive rally in Hubli last week following which he upped the ante seeking his replacing incumbent Sadananda Gowda.
On Sunday he took 55 of his MLAs to a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru and decided to remain there until the leadership took some action. He has made it clear that he would settle for nothing but his reinstatement as chief minister.
He has also said that in case his demands are not fulfilled he and his supporters would boycott the assembly session. Moreover, Yeddyurappa has said that he would be the one presenting the budget in the assembly and not Gowda, who was a couple of months back chosen by the former as the CM.
Following this, hectic activity is currently on in political circles. Yeddyurappa's loyalist MPs are scheduled to meet at Shimoga MP BY Raghavendra's residence in New Delhi to decide on meeting the party's central leadership. They plan to demand that Yeddyurappa be made the CM by Monday evening. In case the demand is not met, the 10 MPs would be ready to even quit their Lok Sabha membership.
This time round the central leadership cannot skirt the issue as the threat appears to be extremely serious.
Yeddyurappa's followers told rediff.com that the party leadership is not being fair to their leader. "They (the BJP's central leadership) had asked him to quit because of his name appearing in the mining scam and now that he has been cleared, there is no reason why they should not reinstate him. We have a majority of the BJP MLAs on our side and will not participate in the assembly unless and until our demands are met," a close aide of Yeddyurappa said.
The influential Lingayat leader, is, however, playing his cards carefully. He is well aware that there are at least six other corruption cases pending against him and there is a good chance of them re-surfacing once he assumes charge.
If that were to happen then it would be endgame for him. In case the BJP's top leadership is not agreeable to him being the CM once again, then he would put forth the name of his former rival Jagadish Shettar. Incidentally Shettar too is part of the camp which is in the resort with Yeddyurappa.
The central leadership will have to weigh its options very carefully. The BJP, which has always claimed that it prefers party before self, cannot give in to the blackmail so easily and would take the option of being tough instead of meekly surrendering.
Moreover, the party has been trying to corner the United Progressive Alliance on the issue of corruption, and getting Yeddyurappa back when there are cases graft pending against him would mean that they would go on the back foot.
The central leaders are most likely to first hear out the MPs who will meet with them shortly, and are also likely to send an emissary to meet Yeddyurappa and iron out the differences.
The BJP is likely to take the option of making Shettar the CM. As a last resort they may just sack Yeddyurappa and his followers and ensure that the assembly is dissolved and go in for an early election in Karnataka.
Yeddyurappa, on the other hand, will continue upping the pressure. This in fact is his last resort and if this rebellion is quelled then it will become very difficult for him to stage such an operation once again.
He will first ensure that the budget session is boycotted and a trust vote is sought against Gowda. He could also submit a letter to Governor HR Bharadwaj stating that the CM does not enjoy the support of a majority of the MLAs in the House.
Gowda, on the other hand, has decided to lie low and not let all this affect him. He has clearly stated that he would be the one presenting the budget. He has decided not to react and said that he would abide by any decision that his party's top leadership would take.