Updated: July 26, 2021 11:37:29 am
Uncertainty continues to prevail in the BJP in Karnataka over the replacement for Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa amid the veteran Lingayat leader’s indication of his imminent exit from the top post after the BJP government completes two years in office on July 26.
Several state leaders have been travelling to Delhi to espouse their cases even as the state BJP has indicated that the party leadership is yet to finalise a candidate to replace Yediyurappa.
“Ours is a national party. Information is being collected by the party through their own channels about prospective candidates. There are many in the shortlist – those who have worked well as ministers, the names of MLAs are also there. A decision will be taken by the high command keeping the interests of the state in mind,” state Revenue Minister R Ashoka said on Friday.
“The CM seat is not vacant as yet. It is not right to discuss it when there is a CM still in place. In our party, any leader who goes about claiming that they will be the CM will not make it,” said Ashoka, who is also being seen as a contender.
The top leadership is looking for a candidate who is independent minded, will not get swayed by various interest groups in the party or outside, and who will command the respect of party legislators and implement the party’s governance agenda, sources in the BJP said.
“The decision on who will be the next CM is in the hands of the high command. A lot of data is being gathered on candidates but no finality seems to have been reached,” a BJP source said.
Several BJP MLAs have travelled to Delhi over the past few days in what is being seen as an effort to lobby their own candidature. Mining Minister Murugesh Nirani and MLA Arvind Bellad, both of whom belong to Panchamsali sub-sect in the Lingayat community, have paid visits to Delhi, and so has Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar, a Lingayat, and Social Welfare Minister B Sreeramulu, a member of Valmiki Nayak, a Scheduled Tribe community.
A few BJP leaders associated with the central government and the BJP central leadership are also tipped to be in the reckoning to replace Yediyurappa.
Despite Yediyurappa asking supporters from the Lingayat community not to gather to stage protests in his support – in an effort to prevent the impending change of leadership – several seers have planned a protest on Saturday to show solidarity with him. “There will be a meeting of seers from various groups. It will discuss current developments,” seer Dingaleshwar Swamiji of the Balehosur Mutt said on Friday. He claimed that the meeting would be apolitical.
The Lingayat community is being mobilised in support of Yediyurappa and also in an effort to ensure that a Lingayat is appointed as the new CM, BJP sources said.
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