Suspense continued in Karnataka over a possible leadership change in the government, on the eve of the B.S. Yediyurappa-led BJP government completing two years in power on July 26, as the party high command did not send the much-anticipated “message” till late on Sunday.
Mr. Yediyurappa, meanwhile, reiterated that he was expecting a message latest by Monday and would “work till the last minute” and step down if asked to.
The presence of some Chief Minister-hopefuls in Delhi, including Murugesh Nirani and Aravind Bellad, added to the air of uncertainty. The Chief Minister’s son, B.Y. Vijayendra, has also been camping in Delhi for the past three days.
Mr. Yediyurappa meanwhile was away from the capital Bengaluru, inspecting the flood-hit district of Belagavi.
As the State was keenly watching moves by the BJP high command, party national president J.P. Nadda breaking his silence on the leadership issue, praised Mr. Yediyurappa , saying he had done “good work” and Karnataka was doing well.
When quizzed about the leadership crisis in the State, he said, “That is what you feel. We don’t feel so.” He added that Mr. Yediyurappa was taking care of things in his own way. Mr Nadda was speaking in Goa.
Following the remarks, the Chief Minister thanked the party president for appreciating his government’s work, adding that it was unrelated to leadership change issue.
Mr Nadda’s remarks are significant as Mr. Yediyurappa had said two days ago that he expected directions from the party high command on July 25 and he would abide by their decision.
In a different tenor, C.T. Ravi, national general secretary of BJP, said to be a chief minister hopeful, also in Goa, said the party had given “all opportunities” to Mr. Yediyurappa, making him Chief Minister four times, subtly hinting he now has to make way for others.
Reacting to him, Mr. Yediyurappa said there was nothing wrong in what Mr. Ravi said he was indeed a loyal worker of the party and was thankful to the party for these opportunities.
Meanwhile, in Bengaluru, a convention of Veerashaiva-Lingayat seers urged the BJP high command to continue with Mr. Yediyurappa as Chief Minister.
However, the Chief Minister sought to distance himself from the convention.
Later in the evening, the Chief Minister said, “I have not got any directions from the high command yet. If they ask me to continue as chief minister, I will do so. If they ask me to resign, I will tender my resignation and work for the party for the next 10-15 years.” Mr Yediyurappa is scheduled to preside over an event to celebrate the achievements of his government over the past two years in Vidhana Soudha on Monday.
Multiple sources said the BJP leadership is yet to take a final decision on Mr. Yediyurappa’s replacement as on Sunday night. Meanwhile, Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot, who was away for sometime, returned to Bengaluru on Sunday evening.