Can Resign, Am Unwell, Said BS Yediyurappa To PM: Sources

Notes of discord in the Karnataka BJP have been growing for months with several leaders openly challenging Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has been downplaying the dissent against him

Highlights

  • Karnataka CM faces rebellion from several leaders within BJP
  • It is for BJP high command to decide on the matter: Sources
  • Earlier today, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa met with JP Nadda

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, facing rebellion from several leaders within the party, offered to resign citing ill health during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday evening, sources have told NDTV.

It is now for the BJP high command to decide whether to accept it, say sources, adding if the party decides to replace Mr Yediyurappa, then a change of leadership is likely by July 26, when the Chief Minister completes two years in his current term.

Sources said the probable names for the Chief Minister's post are state Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Mines Minister Murugesh Nirani and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi.

Sources added that the Chief Minister has offered to resign on the condition that his son Vijayendra should get a good position in the state party unit.

The Chief Minister went about his day meeting BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, JP Nadda and Amit Shah in the national capital.

"He (Amit Shah) said you must work more for the party in Karnataka. Our blessings are with you. Like UP we must win all the seats in Karnataka. We discussed all that. He said Karnataka has a good future. We are completely with you. That is what the Prime Minister said yesterday, too," BS Yediyurappa said leaving from the residence of Home Minister Amit Shah.

Mr Yediyurappa, who flew to Delhi on a chartered flight with his son for meetings with the BJP leadership, has officially brushed aside any question of a leadership change in Karnataka.

Yesterday, after his meeting with the Prime Minister, he laughed off reporters' questions and tossed them back: "I don't know of any rumour about a leadership change. You tell me?"

A statement from the 78-year-old Chief Minister's office said the two leaders discussed several projects, including the Bengaluru Peripheral Ring Road project and the Mekedatu project.

This morning, the Chief Minister met with BJP president JP Nadda.

"Discussed on various matters including further strengthening the party's prospects in Karnataka ahead of 2023 general elections (sic)," his office said in a statement.

Despite all appearances of "business-as-usual", signs of turbulence in Karnataka are stronger than ever.

Dissent has been simmering for months in the Karnataka BJP, with several leaders openly challenging the Chief Minister and going unchecked by the top leadership.

Defying warnings of disciplinary action, disgruntled BJP leaders like Vijayapura City MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Tourism Minister CP Yogeshwar and legislative council member AH Vishwanath have repeatedly attacked Mr Yediyurappa, accusing him of corruption and of letting his son Vijayendra interfere in the administration.

The constant sparring had the BJP despatch a team to Karnataka to take feedback from MLAs.

After the meetings, the BJP's state in-charge, Arun Singh, underlined that the Chief Minister had the backing of the party leadership and said Mr Yediyurappa and his government had been doing good work.

If there was any truce, it was short-lived. In recent weeks, the dissenters have resumed their criticism of the Chief Minister. Sources say Mr Yediyurappa and the BJP leadership had also explored the possibility of a cabinet expansion to accommodate the "rebels".   

Speaking on Mr Yediyurappa's visit to Delhi. senior Congress leader from Karnataka Mallikarjun Kharge told news agency ANI, "BJP is unstable in the state. Their MLAs and ministers are openly speaking of ousting the CM. I don't think this has been a situation in any state, it has been going for 7-8 months. It is affecting the state administration."