Appeasement politics rules in K'taka; 2 Deputy CM's likely

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Jagadish Shettar
Bangalore, Jul 11: With all decks cleared for the elevation of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar as the next Chief Minister of Karnataka, it seems his path towards the top post is not going to be a smooth ride. On Tuesday, Shettar was elected as the leader of the BJP Legislature Party unanimously, but the occasion also saw a divide in the cadre.

The state BJP has most definitely been impacted by Shettar's elevation to the CM post with the Gowda and Yeddyurappa camp seeing red over the party high command's decision. With the row on the CM's post almost settled, a fresh issue has cropped up on who will bag the Deputy CM's post.

Current CM Sadananda Gowda gave a jolt out of the blue when he set three conditions to step down from the CM's chair. With the backing of MLAs and other representatives of the Vokkaliga community, he too displayed his upper hand in the murky scheme of things. Gowda is expected to see Governor HR Bharadwaj to submit his resignation at 11:30 am today.

With the post of the state BJP President and the Deputy CM yet to be announced, last minute parleys are on to decide on the same. The Gowda camp had even refused to attend the BJPLP meeting till the central leadership announced their decision on the key posts. The Gowda camp wants their leader Sadananda Gowda to be named state party President and party chief KS Eshwarappa as Deputy CM. The Yeddyurappa camp, however, refused to accept Gowda as the party chief.

In an apparent move to appease the warring factions, reports have emerged that there might be two Deputy CM's, one being Eshwarappa and other R Ashoka, from the Yeddyurappa camp. The Gowda camp is stressing that there should be one of them as the Deputy CM to avoid any hijacking attempts by Yeddyurappa. There are also reports that in case Ashoka, who is from the Vokkaliga community, becomes the Deputy CM then Gowda will most likely not get the party president post and will have to settle for any other prominent party post as well as becoming a Rajya Sabha member.

CM-in-waiting Shettar is likely to swear-in as the 21st Chief Minister of Karnataka on Thursday along with 31 other ministers.

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