New Delhi/Bangalore: Disagreement between the BJP Central leadership and the BS Yeddyurappa camp on Sunday over the latter's choice of Udipi MP Sadanand Gowda for the post of Karnataka Chief Minister forced the party to defer the exercise till August 3.

"The new leader of BJP legislature Party will be elected on 3rd August at 11 am", party in-charge of Karnataka Affairs, Dharmendra Pradhan said.

Outgoing Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, who ended three-day suspense on Sunday by tendering his resignation to Governor HR Bhardwaj, had narrowed down the choice of his successor to Gowda, a Vokkaliga leader.

Earlier, he had given a panel of three names which included Higher Education Minister V S Acharya and Law & Justice Minister Suresh Kumar S.

However, the Central leadership did not agree to Gowda's candidature for the post.

BJP General Secretary and MP Ananth Kumar and his supporters are vehemently opposed to Gowda becoming the next Chief Minister.

Unconfirmed reports said the Central leadership is now working towards building a consensus for Kumar to be the next Chief Minister.

Kumar, a Brahmin leader, is a known Yeddyurappa baiter and has allegedly played a role in most of the rebellions against the outgoing Chief Minister in the past.

Kumar enjoys the support of the mining barons, the Reddy brothers, and this may be one reason for the Central leadership now supporting him.

The Reddys are also close to Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who has a good working relationship with Kumar.

Earlier, central observers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh held discussions with the Yeddyurappa camp and the rival side led by state unit president K S Eshwarappa for more than four hours before leaving for New Delhi.

While Yeddyurappa pushed for the candidature of former state unit president Sadananda Gowda, it was opposed by the group comprising Eshwarappa, party national General Secretary HN Ananth Kumar and ministers Jagadish Shettar and R Ashoka.

The anti-Yeddyurappa group initially pushed for Shettar or Ananth Kumar for the post, but it was not acceptable to the former. They then reportedly demanded the deputy Chief Minister's post for Shettar, which was not acceptable to Yeddyurappa.

When there was no convergence of views with both sides sticking to their guns, it was decided to take the issue to the central leadership for further consultations, party sources said in Bangalore.

M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also involved in the discussions with the BJP leaders in Karnataka to resolve the crisis, is also close to Kumar who may succeed Yeddyurappa if a consensus finally emerges on his name.

Kumar also enjoys close proximity to senior BJP leader LK Advani. In case Kumar, or anybody close to him, becomes the Chief Minister, the Yeddyurappa camp is not going to sit easy and the skirmishes within the BJP in the Karnataka unit may become more regular.

Yeddyurappa claims to have the support of 75 of the 121 BJP MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly.

He also enjoys the support of 14 MPs. Most of them had walked along with him to the Raj Bhawan when he went to submit his resignation to the Governor on Sunday afternoon.

With the selection of new Chief Minister put off till Wednesday, the party central leadership hopes to bring around the MLAs to agree to its choice.

Working out some other formula- like having a Deputy Chief Minister or giving the BJP state unit presidentship to Yeddyurappa- may be the other options that may be explored, said sources.

However, this is not likely to pacify Yeddyurappa, a leader with a mass following among the Lingayats, who made it clear today in his post-resignation speech that he was stepping down only as he is a disciplined soldier of the party and the BJP Central leadership wants him to quit.

The trouble in the BJP Karnataka unit seems to be far from over.

And with these problems, BJP Central leadership's plans of starting the monsoon session of Parliament, beginning from Monday, with a strong attack against the UPA government on corruption would now be weakened

(Agencies)