Changes have been made to send out a message to feuding factions

The Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its government on Saturday removed two key functionaries — party spokesperson Ayanur Manjunath and Special Representative of the State in New Delhi, V. Dhananjay Kumar.

Incidentally, the former is appointed by the president of the State unit of the party while the latter is appointed by the State government on the directions of the Chief Minister who is the head of the government. There is no official confirmation, as yet, on the removal of Mr. Dhananjay Kumar since it is widely stated that the State government has to issue an order either to abolish a given post or to replace the incumbent.

‘Lacklustre performance’

Sources close to the Chief Minister told The Hindu that there is no need for the government to issue an order to remove Mr. Dhananjay Kumar from the post. “The post is co-terminus with that of the Chief Minister and he has now been removed on grounds of a lacklustre performance. There is, however, no need to offer any explanation.”

Mr. Dhananjay Kumar, a former Union Minister of State for Finance in the Vajpayee government, said he will call on the Chief Minister on Monday. “I have not received any Government Order and my appointment letter clearly states that I will continue until further orders. I will, however, abide by the directions of the Chief Minister,” he said.

Mr. Dhananjay Kumar was appointed as the State’s special representative in August 2009 by the then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and had continued in the same post during the nearly one-year rule by D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who replaced Mr. Yeddyurappa .

Party discipline

BJP sources said Mr. Manjunath, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha, has been “sacked since he crossed the Lakshman Rekha”. In other words, he has violated party discipline. It is common knowledge that Mr. Manjunath recently spoke against the Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok, who is also the Minister for Transport. The resignation of Mr. Ashok was demanded on the grounds that he had mishandled the recent strike by the employees of the State bus transport corporations. A charge was also made that Mr. Ashok was hobnobbing with the former Chief Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy.

The two important changes, more so, since Mr. Manjunath and Mr. Dhananjay Kumar are considered senior leaders of the party, have apparently been effected to convey a message to the feuding factions in the party. Both the leaders are known for their allegiance to Mr. Yeddyurappa, whose animosity against the party leadership is well known.

Chief Minister’s view

In Dharwad on Saturday, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, while speaking to presspersons in Gummagol village, clarified that Mr. Dhananjay Kumar was not removed from his post, but that he was not continued in his post as his tenure had come to an end.

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