Updated: May 28, 2021 7:35:53 am
Admitting that some attempts were on within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to replace him as Karnataka’s chief minister, B S Yediyurappa stated that controlling the Covid-19 pandemic and protecting the interests of the people were his only priorities now.
In a strong response to the people speculating about the replacement of the chief minister, Yediyurappa on Thursday said, “The only thing before me is Covid-19. Controlling the pandemic and protecting the interest of the people is my priority. If some have gone somewhere (referring to reports of BJP legislators going to Delhi to meet high command), they have been given the right answers (by high command) and sent back.”
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said, “when people are in distress and deaths are increasing due to Covid, controlling it together should be the priority of MLAs, ministers and everyone. We should focus on controlling Covid-19; there is no other matter in front of me apart from facing the challenges of Covid.”
For the first time on record, Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka on Wednesday has said that attempts were made within the BJP to have Yediyurappa removed.
“I know that meetings are being held in Delhi. Some ministers seem to be a part of this as well. Yes, it’s true, 100 per cent, that attempts are going on to replace Yediyurappa and some are involved indirectly,” he said.
A few legislators, including tourism minister CP Yogeeshwara and BJP Hubballi-Dharwad (West) legislator Arvind Bellad, were in New Delhi reportedly to meet BJP’s top leaders, leading to speculation in Karnataka’s political circles of a change in leadership.
According to reports, the legislators expressed disappointment over the style of the chief minister’s functioning. The infighting which is deep within the state Cabinet also seems to have encouraged some senior leaders to lobby for the top post.
Reports say, however, the party’s national leadership have not paid attention to their demands so far.
Ashoka, a Yediyurappa loyalist, further said that the government is only working hard to fight against Covid-19.
For the first time, ministers and other MLAs have openly admitted to such moves to replace Yediyurappa.
On Wednesday, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan, Housing Minister V Somanna and Mines & Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani spoke in favour of Yediyurappa and denied any change in leadership.
Several legislators considered close to the Chief Minister questioned the need for such a change and asserted that the 78-year-old BJP strongman in the state will complete the term.
Citing certain decisions taken by the government, handling of the Covid crisis and corruption charges, a few MLAs are said to be pushing for convening a legislature party meeting after June 7, the last day of the lockdown.
Lashing out at legislators reportedly camping in Delhi for leadership change, BJP MLA SR Vishwanath said, Yediyurappa would continue to be in office until the next Assembly elections.
Another MLA, M Virupakshappa, said Modi and Amith Shah wouldn’t risk losing a BJP government in the South by removing Yediyurappa.
Responding to the speculation about a legislature party meeting called, the Chief Minister, on Thursday, merely told reporters, “there is no need to discuss it with you (media).”
Deputy CM C N Ashwath Narayana maintained that no legislature party meeting had been called on or after June 7. Home minister Bommai termed reports about chief minister change and legislature party meeting in June as “not official” and dismissed media reports as mere speculations.
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