Bangalore: Lok Sabha member D V Sadananda Gowda will be the new Chief Minister of Karnataka,with his election today as leader of the BJP legislature party in secret ballot, in a victory to the B S Yeddyurappa camp.
The exact number of votes polled by the rival candidates was not immediately available.
58-year-old Gowda beat Jagadish Shettar who was propped up by the rival camp led by BJP National General Secretary H N Ananth Kumar in a straight contest after the party central leaders failed to evolve a consensus on the successor issue.
The election brought out the sharp division in BJP’s state unit with Yeddyurappa aggressively pushing for Gowda’s candidature after being asked to step down as Chief Minister following his indictment in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.
An affable and non-controversial figure, Gowda, a former state unit chief,is a Lok Sabha member from Udupi-Chikmagalur. He has also served as Deputy Opposition leader in the assembly.
After Yeddyurappa’s exit, party’s central observers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh had tried to build a consensus on his successor but the rival factions stuck to their guns forcing a showdown.
The election of Gowda, who is not a member of either House of the Legislature, has clearly demonstrated the hold Yeddyurappa has over legislators and his command over the party in the state.
Yeddyurappa’s opponents in the party led by National General Secretary H N Ananth Kumar and state unit party President K S Eswarappa had opposed Gowda’s nomination on the ground that Yeddyurappa was trying to rule by proxy.
The anti-Yeddyurappa camp proposed the name of Jagadish Shettar, who has been a contender for the Chief Minister’s post for a long time.
Leaders of both factions, leaving nothing to chance, indulged in the numbers game and ferried their loyalist MLAs to separate star hotels in an attempt to guard them from being poached.
Minutes before the Legislature party meeting,Yeddyurappa and Ananth Kumar supporters brought their group of MLAs to the meeting venue in buses, an action which also brought to the fore the groupism in the state unit.