Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi on Saturday said there is no question of a leadership change in Karnataka as the Chief Minister's position is not vacant and the incumbent B S Yediyurappa is functioning efficiently.
The MP from Dharwad, whose name is being speculated as one among the probables to replace Mr Yediyurappa, said no such discussions have taken place involving him.
He said the focus now should be on managing the Covid pandemic.
"Whether legislators had come to Delhi, what they did, I am not aware. No one has met me nor have I met anyone. Also, the Chief Minister's position is not vacant, Yediyurappa is functioning efficiently," Mr Joshi said.
"Though he (Yediyurappa) is aged, he is functioning efficiently. And, there has been no discussion about leadership change keeping his age as the factor. There is no vacant position as far as the Chief Minister is concerned, there is no question (of leadership change)," he said in response to a question.
Speculation has been rife for sometime now that efforts were on within the ruling BJP to exert pressure for unseating the 78-year-old Mr Yediyurappa. Recent visit by State Tourism Minister C P Yogeeshwara and Hubballi-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad to Delhi reportedly to meet the high command and express the need to rein in the Chief Minister has given credibility to such speculation.
To a question about some legislators meeting him and putting pressure on him to become the Chief Minister, Mr Joshi said no one has met him.
"When I am in Hubballi or in Delhi, Ministers from the state come and meet me as I am a Minister at the Centre and have been working in the BJP for long on matters concerning the state and on work that has to happen from the Centre. Other than this, no other discussions have taken place," he said.
Ruling out a leadership change, Karnataka BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel too said today that Mr Yediyurappa is a "unanimous leader" and would complete the term.
Earlier too, there has been speculation that the BJP high command is mulling leadership change in Karnataka in the days to come considering Yediyurappa's advancing age.
Though the BJP had officially denied such speculation in the past, it refuses to die down, with some within the party like senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal giving credence to it with his statements, setting repeated deadlines for Mr Yediyurappa's exit.