Updated: July 26, 2021 7:13:52 am
FOLLOWING STRONG indications of a change of guard in Karnataka over the last two weeks, veteran BJP leader B S Yediyurappa is likely to step down from the post of Chief Minister after his government completes two years on Monday.
On Sunday, Yediyurappa said he was waiting for a communication from the party high command to move on his resignation. In Panaji, meanwhile, BJP president J P Nadda praised Yediyurappa and dismissed suggestions of a crisis in Karnataka.
“He (Yediyurappa) has done good work. Karnataka is running well. Yediyurappaji is handling things in his own way,” Nadda said. Asked if there was a political crisis in the state, he said: “Aisa aapko lagta hai, humko nahi lagta (That is what you feel. We don’t feel so).”
Since his visit to New Delhi on July 16-17 to meet senior leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Nadda, Yediyurappa has indicated that he will resign once the BJP state government completes two years under his leadership. According to sources, the meetings in Delhi were held after he had agreed to resign.
Now, sources said, the 78-year-old Lingayat leader is waiting for the central leadership to make up its mind on his successor from a field of over 15 aspirants. PTI reported late Sunday that state minister Murugesh Nirani has arrived in Delhi to meet BJP leaders.
“Tomorrow morning, there will be an event to mark the second anniversary of the government. I would be talking about our achievements over the last two years at the event. After that what happens, you will come to know,” Yediyurappa said.
“When I am told to submit my resignation, I will be ready to resign. Until now, I have not received any message and if I am told to continue, I will do so and if I should resign, I will resign,” Yediyurappa said following his return to Bengaluru after a visit to Belagavi to survey the damage caused by floods in the region.
“I am confident that I will get a message tonight or tomorrow morning. After I complete the programme to mark two years of the government. I will act as per the directions received from the party high command,” he said.
Yediyurappa indicated that he would visit rain-hit regions in Uttara Kannada district on Monday afternoon, “if possible”. According to the Chief Minister’s schedule, there is no event marked in the afternoon after the anniversary event concludes in the morning.
Meanwhile, Karnataka’s new Governor Thawarchand Gehlot, who had been away for a few days, returned to Bengaluru on Sunday. Yediyurappa would have to meet the Governor in the event of a resignation.
On Nadda’s words of appreciation for his government, Yediyurappa said they were not linked to his decision to resign. “There is no confusion. Naddaji is our national president. As a party worker, it is my duty to act as per his instructions. There is no relationship between work being appreciated and other things. Let us wait and see. I will make a decision tomorrow,” he said.
On Sunday, a group of over 300 seers linked to the dominant Lingayat community held a conclave in Bengaluru to rally support for Yediyurappa. The seers have called for continuation of Yediyurappa as Chief Minister, saying he has been doing good work.
But with the BJP national leadership not happy with the show of support, Yediyurappa refused to react to the demand of the seers. “I want to work another 10-15 years for the party. I will work day and night for the party,” he said.
The BJP national leadership is yet to decide on a replacement for Yediyurappa and has gathered information about several probables. The party is viewing candidates on the basis of ability to implement the agenda of Prime Minister Modi and the BJP, but caste considerations are also in play since they are a key factor in Karnataka politics.
There is speculation that the BJP will try to carry out a balancing act by appointing as many as four deputy CMs to assist the final candidate — especially in the event of the candidate belonging to a caste that does not carry numerical weight in the state’s politics. The BJP government at present has three deputy CMs — a Dalit, a Vokkaliga and a Lingayat. —(With ENS in Panaji)
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