Bengaluru : BS Yediyurappa toughened his stand on remaining as Karnataka Chief Minister, arraying a range of communal leaders to bolster his stake. Meanwhile, he also cancelled legislative party meeting slated for Sunday.
The meeting was scheduled to mark two-year completion of the current government and speculate on possible change of leadership. Noteably, , Yediyurappa called the meeting off without consulting the party leadership. The national General Secretary CT Ravi responded to the development saying he was unaware of the reason for meeting cancellation.
Capturing wide attention recently was Yediyurappa’s show of backing from heads of around 50 mutts, after his arrival from Delhi where he met with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. In that incident, a large delegation of religious leaders had descended on Yediyurappa’s official residence in a display of their support for his leadership.
There, the seers urged for allowing Yediyurappa to continue as CM until 2023 when current government was due to expire. A majority of the delegation comprised priests from the Veerashaiv-Lingayath community. The priests had made their arrival under the aegis of Thumthuvila Sidhgam Mutt Head, Sidhalinga Swami. Earlier, Yediyurappa's followers had warned of dire consequences for BJP should Yediyurappa be dislodged before the term of current government.
2 Congress MLAs too echoed their demand for retaining Yediyurappa as CM. They both belong to the Lingayat community. The Chief Minister expressed gratitude to the seers for their show of support, adding that, he will obey whatever party orders him to do.
BJP’s central leadership planned to discuss leadership change in the meeting slated 26th - the day commemorating the government’s 2-year completion. During the Delhi visit, Yediyurappa had expressed willingness to quit his post provided his children were handed important positions. According to souces, it is owing to lack of clarity in his children’s regard that Yediyurappa plans to press for his continuance. Also, the party leadership has not yet identified a replacement for Yediyurappa.
There are several leaders in fray for the post of chief minister. Union Minister Prahlad Joshi, BJP National General Secretary CT Ravi and National Organising Secretary BL Santhosh are names on the central leadership list for succession. Also on the radar are Speaker Vishweswar Hegde Kasheri, Home Minister Basavaraj S Bomai, Revenue Minister R Ashok and Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashanth Narayan.
Vishwesar Hegde , Joshi and Santhosh are Brahmins while CT Ravi, R Ashok and CN Ashanth belong to another prominent section of the Vokaligya leaving Basavaraj S Bomai as the lone candidate from Lingayat community.
Although the broader plan is to effect generation change, in Karnataka, that phenomenon would be easier said than done, opine political analysts. BJP cannot make headway in Karnataka by disappointing the Lingayat community that it converted into vote bank through Yediyurappa. When Yediyurappa was removed from his post as CM in 2011, he had formed a new party to confront polls of 2013 and BJP suffered pathetic debate at the time. Worse, BJP did not garner majority lead despite flaunting Yediyurappa as their candidate in 2018 elections and the current government formation was eked out after horse-trading coup on the Congress-JDS government.