Bangalore: BJP leader Arun Jaitley will meet senior Karnataka party leaders on Saturday to select a new head for the state unit following incumbent KS Eshwarappa's resignation on Thursday.

Jaitley, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, arrived Bangalore late on Friday.

Formal announcement of the new party chief will be made in two or three days by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh after Jaitley briefs him on the Bangalore talks, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said.

Eshwarappa, who is also deputy Chief Minister handling revenue portfolio, had announced his resignation from the party chief post soon after voting ended for 208 urban local bodies in the state on Thursday. Though his three-year term ended in January, the timing of the announcement came as a surprise as the party had given indications that he will remain in office till after assembly elections due in May.

At least five names are making rounds in BJP circles to succeed Eshwarappa. The five are former party chief and former Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka, Minor Irrigation Minister Govind Karjol and Lok Sabha members Pralhad Joshi and Nalin Kumar Kateel.

The new president will be BJP's third president after the party came to power for the first time in the state in May 2008. Eshwarappa succeeded Sadananda Gowda in January 2010. Incidentally Shettar is the party's third Chief Minister. He took over from Sadananda Gowda in July last year. Gowda succeeded BS Yeddyurappa in August 2011 after he was forced quit as Chief Minister over mining bribery charges.


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