Gowda throws tantrums as Shettar elected

In what was supposed to be a smooth sailing for Jagadish Shettar as the next chief minister of Karnataka, there was enough drama before he was elected as the leader of the legislature wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The third BJP chief minister in four years, Shettar will replace Sadananda Gowda and will take oath for the new post on Thursday.

Though the BJP president Nitin Gadkari had announced in Delhi on Sunday that Shettar would be the new chief minister, the events during the day did not go the way the party had scripted it. The meeting of legislators which was supposed to take place in the morning in Bengaluru was delayed by four hours, as supporters of Gowda, about fifty MLAs, had threatened that they would skip the meeting if the party did not appoint Gowda as the state party president.

In a bid to counter the influence of the Yeddyurappa camp in the cabinet, the supporters of Gowda have also demanded creation of two posts of deputy chief ministers and have demanded that deputy chief ministership be given to K S Eshwarappa. The senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh, however, said that no decision had been taken on if there would be a deputy chief minister or not. He also said that the new chief minister would decide whether to have a deputy or not. The party sources, however, have indicated that this decision would be taken in New Delhi. Announcing the election of Shettar, Singh said that the decision was unanimous and Shettar's name was proposed by Yeddyurappa and Gowda.

After his election, Shettar said, 'All the 121 BJP legislators unanimously elected me as legislature party leader and my first priority is to tackle the situation of drought. Our popular schemes will continue. We are united now and will work for development.'

The peace between the Yeddyurappa camp and the Gowda camp was brokered after much deliberations by Arun Jaitley and Singh. While Yeddyurappa camp claims to have support of 70 MLAs, the Gowda loyalists claim to have 50 MLAs with them.

The new chief minister of Karnataka is a four-time assembly member from Hubli Rural constituency and will have less than a year in office, as the assembly election in the state is due in May next year.
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