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Speculations arise over BS Yediyurappa’s exit from Karnataka CM post; here’s all you need to know

The 78-year-old Lingayat strongman said he had offered to resign two months ago with an intention to make way for others and asserted that he won’t name a possible successor even if asked to

File photo of BS Yediyurappa. PTI

Amid heightened speculation over his political future, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday, hinting at a possible exit, said he will remain in the post till the BJP’s central leadership asks him to step down.

The 78-year-old Lingayat strongman said he had offered to resign two months ago with an intention to make way for others and asserted that he won’t name a possible successor even if asked to.

Central BJP leaders did not talk about his replacement during his recent Delhi visit, he said. “The party high command is likely to give directions on 25 July regarding my future as the chief minister and I will continue to perform my duties till the last minute and thereafter will work for strengthening the BJP with an aim to bring it back to power,” he added.

“I still haven’t got any message (regarding his future as chief minister), I’m waiting if there will be any message on 25 July. I will abide by the Centre’s decision, I have said this in the past and I’m saying it once again,” Yediyurappa said.

Noting that he will continue with the work and will inspect the developmental works in Bengaluru on Friday like construction of roads and rajakaluves (stormwater drains), the chief minister said, “I will perform my duties till the last minute, let’s see what happens in the end.”

Asserting that there is no confusion and the party is united, he said abiding by the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national President JP Nadda is “our duty”.

Here’s what who said so far in the Karantaka leadership crisis:

BS Yediruppa: Reiterating his earlier statement that there are alternative leaders in the state to replace him, Yediyurappa said, “I will not make any suggestion (on successor) who should be made (the next chief minister) is left to the central leadership. I’m not naming anyone, there is no need for it also. Even if I’m asked, I will not suggest any names.”

  • Asked whether anyone from the Lingayat community should be his successor, the leader who hails from the community said, “I will not put any such pressure. Why are you coming to such decisions so soon? After 25 July, based on what the central leadership says, let’s see.”
  • To a question whether the central leaders spoke to him regarding the replacement, during the recent visit, he said, “absolutely not.”
  • The chief minister on Thursday chaired a cabinet meeting, which is being seen as his “last”, in case he steps down after 26 July. Earlier in the day, Yediyurappa said he will abide by the BJP central leadership’s decision, regarding his continuation as the chief minister.
  • Based on the instructions that the central leaders will give him on 25 July, he said he will begin “his work” from 26 July.
  • “Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and Nadda have a special love and faith towards me. You are aware that no position has been given to those who have crossed 75 years of age,” he said, but appreciating his work they have given me an opportunity despite his age crossing 78.
  • Yediyurappa’s sudden trip to Delhi last week during which he met national leadership, had raised questions in some quarters if the party is now working out a succession plan.
  • On his return from the National Capital, Yediyurappa had, however, rubbished talks in some quarters that he is on his way out, and asserted that the central leadership has asked him to continue in the post.
  • Asking his supporters and well-wishers not to give any statements in his favour or indulge in any kind of protest, Yediyurappa said, “It is not appropriate, I appeal for cooperation, without indulging in such things.”

Lingayat pontiffs rally behind BS Yediyurappa: Support has continued to pour in for Yediyurappa from Mutts, pontiffs, political leaders across the party line (especially Congress), amid speculations that his exit was on the cards. Leaders and pontiffs, especially from the Veerashaiva- Lingayat community, and also All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha have declared support to Yediyurappa and have urged for his continuation as the Chief Minister, while also warning “bad consequences” for the BJP if he is replaced.

  • “Why is it (leadership change talks) happening, when the Chief Minister is working efficiently at the time of crisis? The wish of all the Swamijis is that he should be the chief minister for a complete term. Earlier too, he was not chief minister for the complete term,” Siddalinga Swamiji of Siddaganga Mutt, an influential Lingayat seminary in the State, said.
  • Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Siddalinga said all that the chief minister has said is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP National President JP Nadda have shown special care towards him, and he was the only one who was given the exception to continue in the top post despite completing 75 years of age.
  • “Yediyurappa has said he will continue to serve the party until his last breath, but he did not say anything when asked about the resignation,” Siddalinga added.
  • Rejecting criticism that pontiffs are indulging in politics, Siddalinga Swamiji said the pontiffs have supported all chief ministers, whichever party they may be from. “We are non-partisan, but the special thing about Yediyurappa is that we want him to complete the term,” he said.
  • Meanwhile, Congress leaders Shamanur Shivashankarappa and MB Patil, also Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, the head of the Chitradurga-based Sri Jagadguru Murugharajendra Mutt, Sri Veera Someshwara Shivacharya Swami of Rambhapuri Peetha of Balehonnur, and Srisaila Jagadguru Channa Siddharama Panditaradhya, had too warned BJP of backlash if Yediyurappa is replaced.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah: Accusing Yediyurappa of providing a “bad government” to Karnataka, senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Thursday said he doesn’t expect that the state will get a competent government and an honest chief minister by removing him, as the BJP itself is a “corrupt party”.

  • “Yediyurappa gave a bad government to Karnataka. He gave an incompetent government which was corrupt and not in favour of development,” Siddaramaiah alleged.
  • Speaking to reporters, he reminded them that he has been saying for the past six to seven months based on confirmed information that Yediyurappa will be replaced, but no one believed and were denying it, but that it has proved to be true today.

Former Union Minister DV Sadananda said: The former prime minister said there was no “chance” of leadership change in Karnataka as the BJP central leadership was pleased with the developmental activities and the handling of COVID-19 in the state.

  • Gowda, a BJP MP from Bengaluru North, said he does not believe that there was any such move in the offing.
  • “I don’t think there is any truth in the ongoing discussion about the leadership change because these are the decisions which are taken by our central level leaders keeping in view the political situation in the states,” the former Chief Minister, told reporters.

BJP: While, BJP national general secretary in charge of Karnataka Arun Singh, ducked the questions on leadership change in the state, several ministers of the Yediyurappa cabinet either maintained that they were unaware of the developments or said that they will abide by the decision of the high command.

  • BJP leader Basanagouda Patil Yatnal had earlier said that the party’s central leadership will soon pick a new chief minister for Karnataka who is “honest, pro-Hindu and capable of bringing the BJP back to power”, Indian Express reported.
  • Without mentioning any names, Yatnal said a party leader was making trips to Delhi with the demand of being made the chief minister. “He has also tried to bribe the party’s central leadership,” Yatnal said, according to The Hindu. “The party leadership is very honest and they will not tolerate such things.”
  • Revenue minister R Ashoka and home minister Basavaraj Bommai, who have been dismissing reports of possible leadership change in the past few days, today said they will abide by the decision of the high command and they were not aware of what discussions are happening at the leadership level.
  • Food and Civil Supplies Minister Umesh Katti expressing his aspiration to become chief minister said he has all the “qualifications” as he has won the Assembly election nine times.
  • “I also desire to become chief minister, age is also on my side as I’m 60 years now… may become someday. If I get an opportunity I will perform by giving good administration.”
  • Rural Development Minister KS Eshwarappa, welcoming Yediyurappa’s statement to abide by high command’s decision and the party, appealed to pontiffs not to cause embarrassment to the chief minister by issuing statements against BJP while demanding for his continuation.

Meanwhile, there seems to be a sense of nervousness among 12 legislators who became ministers after defecting from the Congress and JD(S), as they had come to BJP trusting Yediyurappa’s leadership, and without him, they fear uncertainty, sources said, adding that they met the chief minister today.

With inputs from PTI

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