Ousted CM B S Yeddyurappa loyalist and sitting MP D V Sadananda Gowda will be the new Chief Minister of Karnataka after he was elected BJP Legislature party leader on Wednesday defeating Jagadish Shettar of the rival camp in a bitterly fought secret ballot.
58-year-old Gowda, Lok Sabha MP from Udupi-Chikmagalur, will be sworn-in on Thursday to become BJP’s second Chief Minister in Karnataka after it formed the first government in South in May 2008.
After his election which was seen as a victory for the outgoing Chief Minister’s camp, Gowda met Governor H R Bhardwaj and staked his claim to form the government.A Raj Bhavan communique this evening said the Governor has invited Gowda to form the government.The swearing-in is scheduled for 1630 hrs on Thursday, Raj Bhavan sources told a news agency.
The sources would not say whether Gowda will be taking the oath alone or will be joined by more ministers.
Gowda decided to advance his swearing-in by a day in view of the three-day visit to the city by President Pratibha Patil from August five, sources said.
As BJP Central leaders’ efforts at bringing about a consensus on Yeddyurappa’s successor came to a nought, the rival camps forced a showdown leading to the secret ballot, reflecting the deep intra-party divisions.
Conflicting figures emerged from the party with some saying 65 MLAs supported Gowda and 51 for Shettar, while a few others maintained it’s 64-53 and also 64-54, but there was no dispute that Gowda got 60-plus votes and Shettar 50-plus.
After the election by a secret ballot, Gowda was ‘unanimously’ chosen as the leader of the BJP Legislature Party, according to Yeddyurappa camp leaders.
Gowda, a softspoken former state BJP chief who is from the RSS stable, enjoys a clean image and belongs to the Vokkaliga community, the second largest after the Lingayats to which section Yeddyurappa belongs.
Shettar, a Lingayat community, is backed by the group led by BJP National General Secretary and Yeddyurappa’s arch rival H N Ananth Kumar and state party chief K S Eshwarappa. There is speculation that Shettar is tipped to become Deputy Chief Minister.