Karnataka BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel on Monday concurred with Union Home Minister Amit Shah's statement on winning the 2023 assembly elections under the leadership of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, which has evoked mixed reactions within the party.
He also said that all the leaders of the party will work together collectively for the party's victory.
"The Chief Minister of the state is the leader of the government and at the time of election, certainly it will be his leadership..... Amit Shah has clarified it. Seniors will give the guidance, BS Yediyurappa (former CM) will be the Margadarshak (guiding force) during the next election," Mr Kateel said in response to a question.
Speaking to reporters, he said there is no opposition or differences within the party on this issue.
"....our party is unique, when we have a Chief Minister, he will lead the party in the next election, it has been clarified (by Shah), but we will all work collectively as a team, so we will all go together," he said in response to a question on differences in the party after Amit Shah's statement.
During his visit to Davangere last week, Mr Shah had exuded confidence that the BJP would once again come back to power in Karnataka with a complete mandate, under Mr Bommai's leadership.
However, senior party leader and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa had contended that the BJP would fight the next assembly election under "collective leadership" of which Mr Bommai will be a part.
There were also reports of former chief ministers Jagadish Shettar and BS Yediyurappa holding talks on September 4, regarding Mr Shah's statement.
Noting that it will be the Chief Minister, who will lead during the next election, when the party is in the government, the state BJP chief in response to a question pointed out that the party was going to assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, under incumbent Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's leadership.
"It is the same for all states, when the party is in government. When not in government it will be the party president, while in government it will be Chief Minister along with the president....so the leadership will be his (CM's), along with him we will all work collectively, there is no difference on that," he added.
To a specific question whether the party will face the next election under Mr Bommai's leadership and has everyone in the party have accepted it, Mr Kateel said Mr Bommai became the Chief Minister following the directions from the central leadership, and it has been accepted by everyone.
"There is still one-and-a-half years left for the assembly election. Already Amit Shah has given a message, the party will work together as a team," he said.
A section of BJP leaders are said to be sceptical about Mr Shah's statement, as Mr Bommai, who is not a native BJP leader, and the message such a statement at this stage may send to party's hardcore Hindutva ideologues or voter base.
In a surprise move Mr Bommai, who has his political origins in Janata Parivar, was made the Chief Minister on July 28, following the exit of state BJP strongman BS Yediyurappa from the post.