BS Yediyurappa Says May Not Remain Chief Minister After This Weekend

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa's possible replacement rumours peaked when he took a chartered flight to Delhi last Friday for meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others in the BJP leadership.

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said "till now" he had not been asked to resign (File)

Bengaluru:

BS Yediyurappa said Thursday that he would follow whatever the BJP leadership decided for him after July 26, when his government completes two years, indicating that he may not remain Karnataka Chief Minister after the weekend.

"There is an event on July 26 on completion of two years of our government here. After this, I will follow whatever (BJP president) JP Nadda will decide," said Mr Yediyurappa, who has been batting away speculation of his exit for weeks.

"You all know that two months ago I had said I would resign to make way for someone else. Whether I am in power or not, it is my duty to bring back the BJP to power. I urge party workers and seers to cooperate," he added.

Mr Yediyurappa, 78, said "till now" he had not been asked to resign.

"When the directions come, I'll quit and work for the party," he said. Insisting that the party leadership had said nothing to him, he remarked: "Let's see what happens on the 25th".

"I will be Chief Minister for as long as you say. When you say no - I will work for the state.  I am going to check roads and storm drains. I will do my duty till the last minute," he went on.

Asked to name a potential successor, he refused and repeated, "Let's see after Sunday".

Mr Yediyurappa, the BJP's first and only Chief Minister in the south, had so far officially denied that there was any talk of his exit.

Reports of his possible replacement peaked when Mr Yediyurappa took a chartered flight to Delhi last Friday for meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others in the BJP leadership.

Reports had said that in his meeting with PM Modi, he had offered to quit citing his health.

On record, however, Mr Yediyurappa's response to whether he was on his way out was this: "Not at all, not at all, not at all."

After returning to the state, he went on a spree of meetings, especially one with Lingayat seers, powerful priests of the Lingayat community that Mr Yediyurappa belongs to. It was seen as a way of driving home his importance to the BJP.

The Lingayats are a politically powerful and sizeable votebase for the BJP, and has strongly supported Mr Yediyurappa over the years.

Two Lingayat priests on Wednesday warned against changing the Chief Minister and a similar appeal came, unusually, even from an opposition Congress leader from the Lingayat community.

Last evening, the Chief Minister had put out tweets calling himself a "loyal worker of BJP" and urging his supporters not to "indulge in protests and indiscipline that is disrespectful and embarrassing for the party".

A section of BJP MLAs and ministers have demanded that Mr Yediyurappa be removed as Chief Minister. State Tourism Minister CP Yogeeshwara had recently said instead of the Chief Minister, his son had been ruling and controlling the ministries of Karnataka.

BJP leader AH Vishwanath said that 80 per cent of party legislators were of the view that the leadership in the state should be changed.