Factional in-fighting in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka intensified late Wednesday with legislators supporting former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa launching a signature campaign against Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda.
The legislators, including a few ministers, took exception to a letter purportedly written by Gowda and state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa to BJP president Nitin Gadkari about the "anti-party activities" of Yeddyurappa and his supporters.
In the letter of March 26, which is making rounds in the media here, Gowda and Eshwarappa name several ministers loyal to Yeddyurappa and suggest to Gadkari that their continuance in the ministry was harmful to the party.
Protesting against the letter, around 20 of the party’s 120 legislators, including a few ministers, in a media statement said they had written to Gowda seeking urgent meeting of the party’s legislature wing to discuss the issues raised by Gowda and Eshwarappa in their letter.
Gowda declined to react to the demand saying that he has not received any letter seeking a meeting of the legislature wing.
"The chief minister has not received any letter from the legislators. If he gets it, he may react tomorrow (Thursday)," Gowda’s spokesperson told IANS.
Yeddyurappa, the BJP’s first chief minister in the state, has been seeking reinstatement ever since he was forced to quit in July last year over mining bribery charges.
His fate depends on the decision the Supreme Court will take on whether to order a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into mining bribery charges, first mentioned in the report of the then Lokayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde in his July 2011 report on massive illegal mining in Karnataka.
Though the Karnataka high court has set aside Hegde’s findings, the Supreme Court- appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) probing illegal mining in Karnataka has recommended that the charges need to be probed by the CBI.
The apex court is likely to resume hearing for and against the CEC’s recommendations Friday.