Ruling out a change in leadership, Karnataka BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel asserted that Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is a “unanimous leader” and will complete the term, as he instructed party MLAs not to indulge in any activities other than COVID-19 management.
He also ruled out any immediate possibility of holding a legislature party meeting, due to COVID-19, and said an explanation will be sought from Tourism Minister CP Yogeeshwara about his open expression of disgruntlement.
“There is no change, Yediyurappa ji is our unanimous leader. The centre (central leadership) has already made it clear that there is no change, there is no such discussion…. it is not the subject of discussion in the party,” Mr Kateel said.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said, speculation about leadership change started ever since the 78-year-old Lingayat leader took charge as the Chief Minister, and reiterated that “Yediyurappa has completed two years and will complete the remaining term too.”
“There is no change. Covid management is the responsibility of every legislator, public representative and party worker.The Chief Minister is involved in it, all our leaders too are involved,” he said.
There have been reports of speculations that efforts were on within the ruling BJP to exert pressure for unseating Mr Yediyurappa.
Recent activities such as visit by Mr Yogeeshwara and Hubballi-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad to Delhi, reportedly with an intention to meet the high command and express the feeling of some legislators against Mr Yediyurappa’s style of functioning and request them to rein in the Chief Minister, has given credibility to such speculation, reported news agency PTI.
Also, citing certain decisions taken by the government, its handling of COVID-19 crisis, and alleged instances of corruption, a few MLAs are said to be pushing for convening a legislature party meeting after June 7, the last day of the lockdown.
Ruling out any legislature party meeting immediately, Mr Kateel said, “until COVID-19 ends, party will not call any meeting….”
He said that all legislators have been given clear instructions to focus only on COVID-19 and nothing else.
“I’m giving clear instructions that no legislator should be involved in any kind of activities other than COVID-19 management.The only responsibility of every legislator is he should be in his constituency, serve people and take control measures,” he added.
Earlier too there have been intense speculation in some quarters that the BJP high command is mulling leadership change in Karnataka in the days to come considering Mr Yediyurappa’s age.
Though the BJP had officially rejected outright such speculation in the past, it refuses to die down, with some within the party like senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal giving credence to it with his statements, setting repeated deadlines for Mr Yediyurappa’s exit.
Responding to a question about comments by Mr Yogeeshwara, the BJP state chief and MP said “I will seek an explanation on what he has said and why.”
Mr Yogeeshwara on Thursday had clarified that his Delhi visit was to discuss his own political future with national leaders and had nothing to do with leadership change in the state, but had dropped broad hints on his disgruntlement.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)