New Delhi: After facing the heat from all sides Karnataka Chief Minister Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa finally decided to step down. The CM was earlier in the day asked to resign immediately by the BJP's top brass.

The BJP decided for a change in leadership in the state, a day after Yeddyurappa was severely indicted by the Lokayukta in the illegal mining scam.

Ending the uncertainty over the fate of the 68-year-old Yeddyurappa who headed the BJP's first government in the south after his indictment, the BJP Parliamentary Board on Thursday met and unanimously decided there should be a change in leadership in Karnataka and "advised" him to resign immediately.

"The BJP Parliamentary Board unanimously decided there has to be a change in the leadership of the BJP legislature party in the state of Karnataka. Accordingly, it has advised Yeddyurappa, the present Chief Minister, to tender his resignation immediately," BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told reporters after a meeting of the board at the residence of the president Nitin Gadkari.

The Board, the party's highest decision making body, also decided to send senior leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley as observers to Bangalore on Friday to oversee the election of Yeddyurappa's successor. Yeddyurappa assumed office in May 2008.

"Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh will go to Bangalore for the election of the new leader of the BJP legislature party," Prasad said.

The meeting was attended among others by L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharam said the Board's decision has been conveyed to Yeddyurappa and discounted suggestions of a possible rebellion in the Karnataka unit of the party.

Yeddyurappa has already informed Gadkari that he would abide by whatever decision taken by the party leadership, she said.

Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde in his voluminous report submitted to the state government strongly indicted Yeddyurappa over payment of about Rs 30 crore kickbacks by a mining firm to his family trust and recommended his prosecution under the anti-corruption law.

Reddy Brothers to go next?

The BJP central leadership's decision on Yeddyurappa has also put a question mark on the continuance of the Bellary brothers in the Cabinet as they also have been indicted in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

Tourism, Culture and Infrastructure Development Minister G Janaradhan Reddy, his brother Revenue Minister G Karunakar Reddy and close associate and Health Minister B Sriramulu have been indicted in the Lokayukta report.

Sriramulu said the Karnataka unit of BJP will abide by all decisions of its central leadership.

The decision of BJP's Parliamentary Board, which decided leadership change in Karnataka and asked Yeddyurappa to resign as Chief Minister, is final, he said.

Lokayukta Santosh Hegde has stated in his report that the Bellary brothers were engaged in mining in Bellary though they claimed to have no mining interests in Karnataka. The Obalapuram Mining Company (OMC) was mainly engaged in mining in Andhra Pradesh, especially in the Cuddapah region.

Hegde has also made other charges against the mining barons which make their continuance in the Karnataka government untenable, a BJP leader said.

"Since Yeddyurappa has been asked to put in his papers on the grounds that he has been indicted in the Lokayukta report, the Reddy brothers cannot continue if one were to go by the same line by argument," a central BJP leader said.

The Reddy brothers claim close proximity to Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and even said she is like a mother to them. However, Swaraj had stated recently that she was opposed to two brothers becoming a part of the same cabinet but the Reddy brothers were appointed at the behest of her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley and others.

The youngest of the Reddy brothers, G Somashekhar Reddy enjoys Minister of State status as Chairperson of the Karnataka Milk Federation. He also has a share in the family's mining business.

(JPN/Agencies)