Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said Sunday that he was ready to step down if the BJP high command wants him to do so.
His stand comes as there are speculations about a leadership change in the state on two grounds: Yediyurappa is 78 and the party feels that there is now a need to project a young face. Moreover, there is an unwritten rule in the BJP that leaders above 75 cannot hold a constitutional post; secondly, many party MLAs are upset over Yediyurappa’s son BS Vijayendra emerging as a de facto CM.
"...as long as the Delhi high command has confidence in me, I will continue as the Chief Minister. The day they will say they don't want me, I will resign and work day and night for the development of the state," Yediyurappa told reporters in response to a question on attempts to replace him.
"I'm in no confusion. They (high command) have given me an opportunity, I'm trying beyond my strength to utilise the opportunity for good. Rest is left for the high command," he added.
Amid talks that the party high command does not want to rock the boat in the state now as there is no alternative leader, the CM said he does not believe so.
"I won't agree that there is no alternative person. There will always be alternative persons in the state and the country, so I won't agree that there are no alternative persons in Karnataka, but until the high command has confidence in me I will continue as the Chief Minister."
In recent days, there has been moves by a few rebel leaders to unseat BSY. The recent visit by state Tourism Minister C P Yogeeshwara and Hubballi-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad to Delhi had given credibility to such speculation.
Also, citing certain decisions taken by the government, its handling of the Covid crisis and alleged instances of corruption, a few MLAs were said to be pushing for convening a legislature party meeting.
Later, Vijayendra visited Delhi and met top party leaders including national President JP Nadda and had reportedly requested to rein in dissidents.
However, state BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel and Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi ruled out leadership change and had said that Yediyurappa will complete the term. Moreover, the party high command is fighting a leadership crisis in Uttar Pradesh and it does not want to invite trouble at this juncture.