There is much curiosity in the BJP on whether it would get a new State president or the incumbent, Nalin Kumar Kateel, would be continued even though his term comes to a close by the end of this month.
Conventionally, the BJP has changed its State presidents after the completion of their term. But given that elections to the Legislative Assembly are fast approaching, there is uncertainty on whether it would happen this time. The party Central leadership is yet to take up the issue for discussion. Party cadre is hoping that clarity on whether the incumbent will get an extension or a replacement would emerge by this month end.
Those who are in favour of appointing a new State president allege that there is little co-ordination between the government and the organisation now. They argue that the party must get a new chief who is capable of galvanising the cadre ahead of polls.
Theories are floating around that if the party decides to replace Mr. Kateel, then his successor would be either from the Vokkaliga, OBC or SC/ST community, as Chief Minister hails from the Lingayat community.
Speculations are rife that if the party has to find a new president, then pick would be from among party national general secretary C.T. Ravi, who belongs to Vokkaliga community, or Energy Minister V. Sunil Kumar, who hails from OBC community. Party insiders observe that Dalit leader Arvind Limbavali and Union Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje too would be in the reckoning.
Interestingly, none of the leaders whose names are doing rounds appear to be lobbying for the post as there is no clarity on the stand of the party high command yet. Also, a prominent leader observed that the high command could come out with a surprise choice like it did while choosing the successor for the then Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa.
It is a practice to change the party office-bearers too when the party State president is changed. But this time, the party leaders are not sure whether there would be a rejig considering the fact that there is not much time left for Assembly elections.
On Wednesday, BJP veteran leader Mr. Yediyurappa told reporters that it was “natural” to change the party State president after his term ends. However, the choice was left to the party high command, said.
Bommai will complete full term, says BSY
Seeking to put an end to the speculation on whether Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai would be replaced, veteran leader B.S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday declared that Mr. Bommai would complete his full term.
“There is no question of changing the Chief Minister when just seven to eight months are left for the Assembly elections,” Mr. Yediyurappa told reporters in Bengaluru before embarking upon a pilgrimage to Mantralayam.
He also made it clear that anything related to change of guard had not come up for discussion when he met Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visit to Bengaluru.