Trouble seems to be mounting for Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and all is not well in the state’s BJP unit. Just days after senior BJP leader Basanagouda Patil Yatnal stirred a hornet’s nest by revealing the BJP high command is looking to replace Yediyurappa soon, several leaders have started voicing their “disappointment” with the CM’s style of practising “exclusionary politics”.
Senior leaders have voiced concerns Yediyurappa is favouring the 17 turncoats from the JD(S) and the Congress who had helped him form a government, ignoring loyalists. Party loyalists are being constantly ignored when it comes to important positions and defectors are being awarded disproportionately.
Amid all the rumours of replacing Yediyurappa, Large-Scale Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar, BJP state President Nalin Kumar Kateel and several BJP MLAs from northern Karnataka districts met on Wednesday at a hotel in Hubballi to discuss “several important issues”.
One of the important issues discussed was about the party’s candidate for the Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency’s byelection. The seat fell vacant after incumbent Suresh Angadi died of Covid-19 on September 23. But the focus of the meeting was about the alleged tussle between the 17 Congress and JD(S) MLAs, who defected to the BJP in 2019 and the party loyalists, who have been with the party for years.
Though there are strident voices against Yediyurappa, the BJP high command is in a fix. Sources said the party has been scouting for a candidate who could replace Yediyurappa, but the search seems to be getting nowhere as the senior Lingayat leader’s power within the BJP and his hold on the party’s votebank is strong.
“We are in a stalemate. The high command wants to appoint someone, who would not become bigger than the party as they don’t want to face a similar situation where one leader becomes so powerful. On the other hand, the high command also realises if it allows Yediyurappa to nominate his successor, he would choose his son, which the party is not willing to accept,” a BJP leader was quoted in the media.
BJP sources admit if the party wins both the RR Nagar and Sira bypolls, it would add to Yediyurappa’s strength and he may push for his son Vijayendra taking over the mantle from him. That is the last thing the BJP high command wants in its political plate from Karnataka.