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As Amit Shah visits, trailed by change rumours, BSY says Basavaraj Bommai to stay

Former Karnataka CM Yediyurappa said he expects changes in the state Cabinet, but that speculations around the BJP replacing CM Bommai were "mostly rumours".

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 3, 2022 5:42:20 pm
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai with Home Minister Amit Shah

Amid speculation in the ranks of the BJP in Karnataka that a visit to Bengaluru by Union Home Minister Amit Shah is set to herald changes in the state’s BJP government, former Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa has stated that he expects changes in the state Cabinet in a few days.

Yediyurappa, however, claimed that speculations around the BJP replacing Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai were “mostly rumours”. “My feeling is that Amit Shah has come on the visit with some decisions in mind. I feel that changes will be carried out in the Cabinet in two days,” Yediyurappa said.

“The suggestions of a change in CM are mostly rumours,” he added. The former chief minister said he was yet to meet Shah, who arrived in Bengaluru on Monday night.

The Union home minister will be at a lunch hosted by Bommai on Tuesday afternoon for BJP MLAs, MPs and senior members. The lunch, which was earlier scheduled to be held at a five-star hotel, has been moved to the official residence of the Chief Minister. It will be followed by a meeting of the party’s core committee in the state to discuss the strategy for the 2023 Assembly polls.

There has been much speculation for weeks that the BJP is moving to affect big changes in Karnataka on account of a slew of corruption charges against the government. On Monday, Yediyurappa had suggested that Bommai was doing a good job as chief minister.

Indications of changes in Karnataka, if any, are expected to emerge from meetings that Shah will hold with the party core committee and functionaries. BJP sources said the party will communicate its intentions to select people on a need-to-know basis and that a plan will be put in place to implement its intentions in the next few days.

There is confusion in the ranks of the party in Karnataka over whether the central leadership will affect major changes or whether the tweaks will be minor. A section of leaders is of the view that Bommai’s continuance has become untenable amid corruption allegations and complaints of government inefficiency.

The BJP, however, lacks alternatives and may opt for a status quo, say some leaders. Nevertheless, senior party leader and organisation secretary B L Santhosh told a party meeting on Saturday that the BJP now has the strength to execute big changes in the party and in government structures in the country.

The remarks have intensified speculation that the BJP has major changes in mind in Karnataka on the lines of changes affected in Gujarat in 2021 when then chief minister Vijay Rupani and his entire Cabinet was replaced by Bhupender Patel and others.

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Bommai has been ailing with a recurring knee problem over the last few months and there have been suggestions that he may seek leave from state politics to receive medical treatment at a foreign location.

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