Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, indicted by the Lokayukta in illegal mining scam, resigned on Sunday ending three days of defiance and favoured sitting Lok Sabha MP D V Sadananda Gowda as his successor.

After giving anxious moments to party central leadership, which had asked him to step down immediately, 68-year-old Yedyurappa submitted his resignation to Governor H
R Bhardwaj amid high drama and claimed he was accused "unfairly" on illegal mining issue.

Yeddyurappa walked the two-km-long distance from his Race Course residence to Raj Bhavan along with over 60 MLAs and ministers loyal to him to submit his one-line resignation letter to the Governor who immediately accepted it.

"We have proposed the name of D V Sadananda Gowda as Chief Ministerial candidate," Yeddyurappa told reporters outside Raj Bhavan, coming out publicly on his choice of
successor over which he had locked horns with the party top brass.

Gowda, 58, belongs to the dominant Vokkaliga community and fully backed by Yeddyurappa who wants to make sure that his hold over the party and the government remains strong.

With Parliament session beginning on Monday where the BJP is set to put UPA in the dock on the corruption issue, Yeddyurappa's resignation came as big relief to the party which was left red faced after he dragged his feet and set pre-conditions and repeatedly displayed his clout with MLAs.

"I believed from the beginning that no sacrifice is above the party. Therefore, bowing to the directive of the party seniors, I have stepped down from the Chief Minister's post without any hesitation", Yeddyurappa, who described himself as the "disciplined soldier" of the party, said.

Shortly after submitting his resignation, Yeddyurappa went into a huddle with senior party leader Arun Jaitley to decide on the successor ahead of a legislature party meeting to elect a new leader.

"Despite my sincere attempts to preserve the natural resources of the state, I have been accused unfairly. I leave this to the judgement of the enlightened people of the state", said Yeddyurappa as his 38-month stint in office ended after being nailed by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde who recommended his prosecution under the provisions of the Prevention of  Corruption Act.

Yeddyurappa, who reportedly insisted on being made the state party unit president before he could make way for his successor, said he would abide by whatever decision his party high command takes on his political future.

On day three of the political upheaval caused by the Lokayukta findings, the drama unfolded with Yeddyurappa faxing his resignation letter to party President Nitin Gadkari, even after which he kept the party leaders in suspense on his exit.  

Yeddyurappa, known for his skills as a survivor and credited with bringing the first ever BJP rule in the South, said he was "quitting happily and with satisfaction".

As the central leaders made frantic efforts to break the logjam, Yeddyurappa insisted on Udupi-Chikmagalur MP D V Sadananda Gowda succeeding him. But the stand-off persisted
as speculation was rife that his bete-noire National General Secretary H N Ananth Kumar's name was also being considered.

Rajnath Singh and Jaitley continued consultations with party top leaders including state unit President K S Eswarappa, Ananth Kumar and legislators to find a successor to Yeddyurappa and ensure a smooth leadership change.

Hours before he submitted his resignation, an emotional Yeddyurappa said he is leaving the office "happily" without being hurt and saw it as an opportunity to work "freely" to strengthen the party.

His voice choking, Yeddyurappa said at a function that as Chief Minister he felt like his hands and legs had been tied and he had to discharge his duties from Vidhan Soudha,
the state secretariat, within "limitations".

The BJP Parliamentary Board at its meeting on July 28 asked Yeddyurappa to resign and deputed Rajnath and Jaitely to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

Yeddyurappa first said he would resign on July 31 when the inauspicious "Aashada Masa" would end but in the meantime mobilised MLAs to remain in power, a move which put the top BJP leadership in a quandary.

Sources in the party said the BJP has accepted Yeddyurappa's condition that his nominee be named as his successor, but not his demand for appointing him as president of the state unit.

I have been accused unfairly: Yeddy

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, indicted by the Lokayukta report on illegal mining, claimed that he had been accused "unfairly" despite his efforts to preserve natural resources in the state.

Reading out a statement in front of Raj Bhavan after tendering his resignation, Yeddyurappa said it was his government that unveiled a new mineral policy and banned export of iron ore.

"Ours is the first state government in the country to take up this revolutionary measure which was upheld by both the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court," he said.

"Despite my sincere attempts to preserve the natural resources of the state, I have been accused unfairly. I leave this to the judgement of the enlightened people of the state."

Yeddyurappa said when he took over the reins of the state on May 30, 2008 he had promised to strive for a "strong and vibrant" Karnataka, and while stepping down from chief ministership he has the "satisfaction" of having done his best to realise the promise.

"I sincerely hope that the new Chief Minister will take a cue from this and take the state forward," he said.

Yeddyurappa highlighted several programmes implemented by his government including the first-ever separate agriculture budget, encouragement to organic farming and the Global Investors Meet, which had attracted an investment of over Rs five lakh crore, creating jobs for over seven lakh youth.

He said his government had planned a Global Agri-Investors Meet to attract private investments for the agriculture sector.

Making a mention of the novel scheme brought out by his government, wherein monthly pension of Rs 1,000 had been extended to unmarried women over 50 years, Yeddyurappa said he had the "immense satisfaction of working according to the aspirations of the people and utilising the position of power for the public good".

Taking an indirect swipe at the Opposition, he said he had in the last 40 years of his public life travelled every nook and corner of the state to organise and strengthen the party and was instrumental in bringing the first ever BJP government in the South.

"Despite indiscriminate attacks by the Opposition day in and day out, I have marched forward without getting disillusioned and disheartened," he said. Taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane, Yeddyurappa said the picture of people gathering in large numbers at his public meetings "with new hopes and aspirations in their eyes" remains etched in his mind and was always a source of inspiration for him.

Expressing his indebtedness to the people of the state for their love and affection, Yeddyurappa promised that he would leave "no stone unturned to live up to their
aspirations".


JPN/Agencies