After senior Karnataka BJP leader and rural development and panchayat raj (RDPR) minister KS Eshwarappa said his cabinet colleague Murugesh Nirani will become the chief minister soon, Nirani clarified that Basavaraj Bommai will complete full term.
Speaking at an event on Sunday in Bilagi Assembly constituency – represented by Nirani – senior BJP leader and Minister for Rural Development, K S Eshwarappa, said, “I don’t know when it will happen, but Nirani has the capacity to be the Chief Minister and he will work for backward communities and the poor.”
He added however, that current Chief Minister, Basavaraj Bommai, would not be replaced.
On Monday, Nirani said, “I respect Eshwarappa’s trust and love for me, in that sense he had said I will become Chief Minister. But as of now Bommai will be our leader and serve as CM till 2023 and finish his term.”
Meanwhile, the statement has now added speculation of a growing divide within the BJP in the state about the leadership change in the prospects for the 2023 assembly election.
Nirani – who owns several business interests and is a member of the key Panchamasali sub-sect in the Lingayat community – had made multiple trips to Delhi to meet BJP brass in July to push his candidature for the CM’s post after it became clear that then chief minister B S Yediyurappa was going to be replaced, it is learnt. However, Bommai was appointed to the post.
Eshwarappa is among the early leaders of the BJP in Karnataka and has shaped the party’s state unit along with other veterans like Yediyurappa and the former Union minister H N Ananth Kumar. He was however among BJP leaders who rebelled against the leadership of Yediyurappa towards the end of the tenure of the former chief minister who was replaced by Bommai in July this year.
In March, Eshwarappa was written to the Governor alleging interference by Yediyurappa in the affairs of departments of other Cabinet ministers.
Eshwarappa’s comments come in the backdrop of indications of another restructuring of the government. Two weeks ago, senior BJP leader Basanagouda Patil Yatnal had said the party would carry out a “Gujarat style restructuring” of the state government in a few months.
“One thing I can tell you is that a rejig like the one in Gujarat will be done here too,” Yatnal had said. According to him, senior members of the Cabinet would be drafted for party work ahead of the Assembly polls scheduled for 2023 – while fresh blood will be infused into the cabinet.
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