In his first direct reaction to speculations on differences in the party leading to rumours of leadership change in Karnataka, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa Sunday said that he would resign if the BJP’s central leadership asks him to do so. However, the CM also asserted he would continue to be in office until the party’s high command has trust in him.
“As long as the high command has confidence in me, I will continue as the CM. The day they ask me to step down, I will resign and work day and night for the welfare of the state,” Yediyurappa said.
When reporters asked him about the complaints by disgruntled ministers, including Tourism Minister C P Yogeeshwara, and MLAs against his leadership, the CM said he would not comment on such remarks. “My stance is clear. They (the party high command) have given me an opportunity for which I try to use the best of my abilities. Rest is left to them,” he said.
The 78-year-old also said alternate leaders “are always present” at the state and the national level. “I disagree with claims that there are no alternative leaders,” he said.
Meanwhile, BJP state president Nalinkumar Kateel Sunday termed questions on a possible change of guard in Karnataka as “irrelevant” and said the matter was “not discussed at any level” within the party. Kateel, who is also the Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha MP, said the party had “unanimously” decided on Yediyurappa to be the CM. “He (Yediyurappa) is our leader and has a vast experience,” he said in Mangaluru.
The state BJP president added that “differences among party leaders have been sorted out” already. “There is no rebel in the party. We have spoken to ministers and MLAs and all discords and other differences have been sorted out. Further, we will convene meetings this month to discuss if there is any dissent within the party that still remains,” he said.
Meanwhile, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi denied connotations that Yediyurappa would resign from the post of the CM saying, “Yediyurappa never said he would resign and go home. Instead, he just meant he would abide by any decision taken by the (party) high command.”
Joshi also lauded Yediyurappa’s efforts to contain the pandemic in the state and reiterated that handling the ongoing crisis, and not leadership change, was the priority of the party at this moment.
At the same time, Deputy CM C N Ashwathnarayan cited Yediyurappa’s statement as “casual”, explaining that the “party was above any person as it was cadre-based.”
Ashwathnarayan said, “This (Yediyurappa’s statement) does not mean that he would step down from the CM’s post. He is our leader and he will continue to remain so. There is no room for any confusion regarding this,” he said.
Governance suffering due to BJP factionalism: Congress
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress on Sunday alleged that governance in the state was suffering “due to the endless factionalism in the BJP.”
State Congress chief D K Shivakumar tweeted, “It is for the BJP to decide who will occupy the CM’s post. But as a citizen of Karnataka I’m saddened to see how governance is suffering due to the endless factionalism in the BJP.”
It is for the BJP to decide who will occupy the CM’s post.
But as a citizen of Karnataka I’m saddened to see how governance is suffering due to the endless factionalism in the BJP.
Covid management is also suffering because CM and ministers worry only about their chairs.
— DK Shivakumar (@DKShivakumar) June 6, 2021
He added that the current political scenario has also impacted Covid management “because CM and ministers worry only about their chairs.”