THE BJP leadership is believed to be unhappy at the show of strength by the Lingayat community amidst indications that B S Yediyurappa is on his way out as the Karnataka Chief Minister.
The announcement of his impending exit has resulted in many seers of the dominant community to which he belongs making a beeline to the CM’s residence to express solidarity. On Sunday, a group of nearly 1,000 seers from the Lingayat and other communities have proposed a solidarity meeting at a public venue.
The Yediyurappa group has claimed it has no connection with the protests of the seers.
Sources also said Saturday that Yediyurappa had communicated his willingness to step down unconditionally over two weeks ago, and that his trip to Delhi last week to meet senior leaders, including Prime Minister Modi, was a sort of farewell gesture.
After his return, Yediyurappa had said he would take up the task of building the BJP after July 26, when his government completes two years of tenure.
“It seems Yeddiyurappa may have agreed to step down after two years, at the time of forming the government. Until now the BJP leadership did not insist because there was no alternative candidate, but now a breakpoint has been reached,” sources said.
In another indication that he is on his way out, the CM Saturday remotely inaugurated several projects and laid foundation stones for others, worth Rs 1,634 crore in all — after having cleared other such projects on July 22.
“I am satisfied with the efforts put in for the development of Shimoga. I have made honest efforts to serve the people of Shimoga district, and specifically Shikaripura taluk, where my political life began,” he said.
The CM’s younger son B Y Vijayendra, a dominant force in the state government over the last two years, was also in Delhi and reportedly held a meeting with BJP national president J P Nadda. The future of Vijayendra in the BJP and the government has not been decided yet, though Yediyurappa is said to be keen to establish him as a leader before his exit. Vijayendra is currently BJP state vice-president but has been plagued by controversies over his alleged role as ‘Super CM’.
Amid names doing the rounds as Yediyurappa’s replacement is that of Union Minister of Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi. Denying this, Joshi said Saturday, “Nobody has told me that I will be sent to Karnataka. I am really not aware and I am not authorised to speak. The BJP national president will decide…”
Another rumoured aspirant, despite being seen as a “lightweight”, is Karnataka Mining Minister Murugesh Nirani. “I do not know anything beyond what CM Yediyurappa has said about his discussions with the party leadership. As an ordinary worker, I will handle any responsibility given by the party…” he said.
Yediyurappa is said to be himself keen on his loyalist and Public Works Minister Govind Karjol as his replacement.
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