BS Yediyurappa digs in his heels, puts off legislators' meeting
Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa whose exit appears imminent, is leaving no stone unturned to retain his position.
Bengaluru: Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa whose exit appears imminent, is leaving no stone unturned to retain his position. A day after Lingayat seers came in open support of the veteran leader warning the BJP high command of adverse repercussions that the party might have to face if Yediyurappa is forced to resign, more religious heads and even some former Congress leaders rallied behind him on Wednesday. The veteran Lingayat leader is drumming up support of everybody who matters after the central BJP leadership reportedly told him during his visit to Delhi to step down after July 26 and an audio tape allegedly containing the voice of State party leader Nalinkumar Katil, suggesting that Yediyurappa's exit was a matter of time.
it's a different matter that Kateel denied that it was his voice in the audio and the high command even reprimanded him.
But Yediyurappa is not ignoring subtle hints and sending a strong message to his detractors both within the State and outside that his exit will have to be on his terms. He also warns of serious consequences if the party takes decision to ease him out. On Wednesday, Siddalinga Swamy of Siddaganga Mutt, one of the most powerful bodies in Karnataka, led a delegation of seers and asked the BJP leadership not to remove Yediyurappa. Speaking to media persons, Siddalinga Swamy said, "It is not a Lingayat fight. Yediyurappa is a Karnataka leader. He has done well. Why should he go? We want him to continue till the next Assembly elections due in April 2023." Much to the chagrin of Yediyurappa, some of the seers who accompanied Siddalinga Swamy reportedly shouted slogans in favour of CM.
The meeting was obviously indented to send a message to the Lingayat community and its leaders that Yediyurappa still enjoys the support of the majority. Statements of a few seers in the past one year, along with the onslaught from his political opponents have raised the question whether Yediyurappa still is the undisputed leader of the community. Two powerful Lingayat MLAs from the main opposition Congress — MB Patil and Shamanur Shivashankarappa — have openly come out in support of Yediyurappa claiming the BJP high command is humiliating a tall leader of their community. Their stand has angered certain Congress leaders in the State. However, they maintain that it is their personal stand and not that of their party. But the sources claim that high command is keen on an honourable exit for Yediyurappa so that it can bank on his support and campaign to win the next Assembly elections. To make way for this, one option being discussed is that of a Cabinet reshuffle with Yediyurappa at the helm but with a new team groomed to take over after his exit. This could exclude senior ministers like R Ashoka, Eshwarappa and Jagadish Shettar
Meanwhile, Yediyurappa has reportedly not shown any interest in being appointed as a governor and has insisted that if he has to step down then he would rather stay in Karnataka and help build the party further. But in the meantime, Yediyurappa has also cancelled the party legislators' meeting scheduled for July 25, a day before his government completes two years in office. Sources say that BSY has arranged a dinner party for BJP legislators and leaders at a private hotel to mark the celebrations the same day on July 26.