Karnataka CM BSY throws a 'googly' to BJP central leadershiptext_fields
Bengaluru: Finally Karnataka Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa broke his silence over the attempt by a section of party leaders to unseat him, by saying that he will continue in the CM post as long as the party high command has confidence in him.
Political pundits and admirers of BSY have read his statement was killing two birds with one stone. The Lingayat strongman knew that the ongoing change of leadership campaign by his detractors was engineered by a few party central leaders. With the strong backing of party central leaders who hailed from Karnataka, the opponents of BSY are giving statements on change of leadership for six months.
With one statement, Mr Yediyurappa wanted the party high command to give clarity on the leadership change and he also indirectly insisted the party leadership take stern action against his detractors.
The Chief Minister is in no mood to confront the strong central leadership, but he was disturbed by a constant attempt of his opponents to dethrone him from the CM's post by taking Delhi trip to meet the party high command. Also, BSY has been annoyed with the inaction of the party top brass to be stern with the 'errant' BJP MLAs.
Will central leadership act now?
Everyone in the state BJP knew that the central leadership doesn't wish to continue with Yediyurappa in the CM's post for long considering his age factor and 'growing interference' of his family members in the administration. The central leadership has received complaints against the style of functioning of BSY and excessive interference of his younger son and Karnataka BJP vice president, B.Y. Vijayendra in day-to-day administration.
Rampant corruption and poor Covid management of the BSY government have put Karnataka in a bad light. The sagging image of the BSY government has also worried party central leadership to face 2023 Assembly elections. Even detractors of Yediyurappa, who hold key positions in the party central leadership don't want him to complete the full term.
B.L. Santhosh, BJP national secretary (organization), Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, and C.T. Ravi, BJP national general secretary, all of whom hail from Karnataka stood at one the opposite side to CM and 'encouraging' his detractors to give statements against him and facilitating them to meet party top brasses in Delhi.
All three top leaders have expressed their displeasure in the party platform for projecting Yediyurappa for CM candidate in the 2018 Assembly elections. Since then they were not in good equations with Lingyat strongmen. But they have very much aware that without BSY, it would be difficult for the saffron party to come to power in the State.
Loyalist MLAs of BSY have disturbed the secret operation of three central leaders. Interestingly, neither the party's central leadership nor state leadership has taken any action against errant BJP MLAs, who openly resorted to a tirade against the Chief Minister. Loyalist MLAs of BSY also criticized that BJP State unit chief Nalin Kumar Kateel is a 'puppet' of party national organizing secretary B.L.Santhosh and he is not in a position to discipline unruly MLAs.
The central leadership is also dependent upon these three main leaders to take feedback on the BSY government, and naturally, the central leadership's perception of the BSY government was negative.
Regarding the change of leadership in Karnataka, the central leadership is unlikely to take a call at this juncture. It has been busy with resolving Uttar Pradesh BJP affairs because that state will go for elections in 2022 and even Gujarat is due for elections in 2022. Thus the central bosses will not give immediate attention to Karnataka, where elections are due only in 2023.
Centre wants transfer of power in Karnataka to be a smooth affair. It doesn't want to confront the Lingayat strongman. The Centre also wants BSY himself to take a lead in choosing his successor and transfer power in a smooth manner. The Centre knew that with its previous experience, any confrontation with BSY will boomerang on the party. Mr Yediyurappa is a mascot leader for BJP by installing the first-ever government in the South of Vindhyas and he has a strong support base of Lingayat vote bank, the number one community in the state. Thus BJP central leadership doesn't want to invite risk by removing BSY unceremoniously, meanwhile searching for an alternative leadership in the party has already begun.
Detractors of BSY
According to diehard supporters of the Chief Minister, the central leadership has used second-rung leaders in BJP used as a 'chess pawn' to settle their scores against BSY. Minister for tourism, C.P. Yogishwer, senior MLA, Basanagowda Patil Yatnal and Hubballi-Dharwad West constituency MLA, Aravind Bellad are the front-runners to unseat BSY from CM post; these leaders frequently making trips to Delhi, meet party central leaders in this regard.
After detractors opened an attempt to unseat him, Mr Yediyurappa has moved his pawn, by giving a 'resignation' statement. After this statement, his trusted MLAs and ministers are rallying around him and demanding action against errant MLAs. Now a few trusted MLAs have also started a signature campaign in favour of the Chief Minister; they have already claimed 65 MLAs have expressed their solidarity with CM.
Meanwhile, BJP state chief Nalin Kumar Kateel has announced the constitution of a coordination committee comprising Chief Minister and senior ministers to bring smooth coordination between the party and the government.