Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday evening appealed to his colleagues in the BJP to "not indulge in protest and indiscipline", amid pressure over exit rumours after a meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week. Mr Yediyurappa's tweet is being seen as a subtle hint to the centre, at a time he has been racking up support from religious leaders and even a former Congress minister.
Mr Yediyurappa, 78, tweeted he has been a "loyal worker" of the BJP. "I am privileged to be a loyal worker of BJP. It is my utmost honour to serve the party with highest standards of ethics & behaviour. I urge everyone to act in accordance with party ethics & not indulge in protests/indiscipline that is disrespectful & embarrassing for the party," he said.
I am privileged to be a loyal worker of BJP. It is my utmost honour to serve the party with highest standards of ethics & behaviour. I urge everyone to act in accordance with party ethics & not indulge in protests/indiscipline that is disrespectful & embarrassing for the party.— B.S. Yediyurappa (@BSYBJP) July 21, 2021
The Chief Minister's sudden trip to Delhi last week to meet BJP's top leaders had raised questions about how long he would continue in his post. While in Delhi, when asked about rumours of a leadership change in the state BJP, he told reporters: "There is no truth in it. Not at all. Not at all. Not at all." He said the same after flying back to Bengaluru - that he would keep the post.
Mr Yediyurappa, the BJP's first and only Chief Minister in south India, has almost completed two years in charge since he took over from the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in July 2019.
He has been facing what was seen as hostility from some BJP MLAs in the state. Some leaders including MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Tourism Minister CP Yogeshwar and MLC AH Vishwanath have spoken against Mr Yediyurappa, despite warnings of disciplinary action by the leadership.
The Chief Minister's critics in the party, including MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, had hit out at Mr Yediyurappa's son and party state vice president BY Vijayendra for accompanying his father to Delhi last week. Mr Yatnal alleged Mr Yediyurappa's son was "running the government in Karnataka."
Earlier in the day, Mr Yediyurappa met mutt chiefs, or powerful priests of the state, in what many see as a message to the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The political and religious leaders of the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, which comprises 16 per cent of the state's population and is seen as the BJP's big support base in the state, are backing the Chief Minister. Several of them have warned the BJP against any move to dislodge Mr Yediyurappa, who also belongs to the community.