New Delhi: Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa will complete his term in office, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Muralidhar Rao has said amid growing unease in the state’s powerful Lingayat community over a purported bid by the party brass to undermine the leader. He also denied any possibility of snap polls in the state.
Rao told ThePrint that there had been no attempt to sideline the chief minister, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah had accompanied Yediyurappa to survey flood-affected areas in Karnataka.
There’s been much disquiet among Yediyurappa’s supporters over a host of decisions taken by the BJP brass since he was sworn in late July, including keeping the chief minister waiting for a month to get his cabinet and the appointment of three deputy chief ministers, which was seen as a move to clip the chief minister’s wings.
However, Rao, the BJP general secretary in-charge for Karnataka, said the appointment of three deputy chief ministers was to assist Yediyurappa and not to weaken him politically.
“He is our leader and that’s why the party made him the state president earlier and then the chief minister,” Rao added.
Although Yediyurappa has not aired any reservations about the three deputies, a section of the Lingayats reportedly delivered the message on his behalf last week. At a state government event on 17 September, several Lingayat seers hailed Yediyurappa as the foremost leader of the community — the state’s largest — with Shivamurthy Swamy of Devapur Mutt even warning of protests if the chief minister was deposed.
Cabinet expansion after bypoll
Rao also weighed in on reports of resentment among party leaders not accommodated in the Yediyurappa cabinet.
“This is not the end of the road for anybody not happy,” Rao said. “The cabinet will be expanded and others have to be patient. The party high command takes decisions according to the prevailing situation. We have got a majority in the assembly due to the absence of MLAs. So, in that scenario, we have to consider many factors before selecting ministers.”
Rao indicated that after the announcement of bypoll results in 15 assembly constituencies in the state, the cabinet will be expanded.