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Karnataka CM Yediyurappa dismisses rumours of leadership change, says Nadda praised his work

BS Yediyurappa says he has not resigned, met BJP high command to discuss development works in the state.

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New Delhi: Amid a fresh buzz about a change of leadership in Karnataka, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP President J.P. Nadda in New Delhi.

Yediyurappa, who is on a two-day visit to the national capital, met PM Modi after nearly eight months. Denying rumours of cabinet reshuffle and resignation, the chief minister said the meeting was held to discuss development projects in the state and added that party president Nadda praised his leadership.

“It is only rumour. I met PM yesterday (Friday) to discuss developmental projects. There is no value in such news. I have not resigned,” the Karnataka CM told reporters Saturday.

Unlike his earlier visit with a few of his loyalist ministers, Yediyurappa boarded a special flight with his son Vijayendra and MLC Lehar Singh and landed in Delhi Friday afternoon. Before that, he attended a virtual meeting led by the PM with chief ministers of southern states to discuss the Covid situation.

Meeting with Modi, Nadda

During his meeting with Modi Friday evening, Yediyurrapa discussed the issue of the contentious Upper Bhadra and Mekedatu projects. Later, he met Karnataka ministers Shobha Karandlaje and Rajeev Chandrasekhar who were inducted into the Modi cabinet. On Saturday, the CM met Nadda and Rajnath Singh.

Soon after his meeting with Nadda, the CM told reporters that the two leaders discussed ways to make the BJP stronger in the southern state before the 2023 assembly elections. “Nadda ji praised my leadership and work. I will come again at end of July to discuss other issues,” the CM said.

Sources, however, said the meeting with Modi was not only about the projects but the PM wanted to know the political situation in state and state leaders who have been speaking against the CM and his son.

Leadership issue was not part of the agenda, but Yediyurappa did complain about dissidents who have been hampering development work, the sources added.

Sources also said the issue of cabinet expansion was discussed during the meeting with Nadda.

The CM last expanded cabinet in January when he inducted seven ministers. Currently, with the exit of H. Nagesh and Ramesh Jarkiholi, there are two vacancies in the cabinet and the CM wants to remove a few ministers who have been revolting against him.

BSY is keen to induct RR Nagar MLA N. Munirathana who was not rewarded after ‘Operation Kamala’, but it all depends on how the BJP high command is eyeing the Karnataka leadership issue.

A leader close to the chief minister told ThePrint: “Yediyurappa is miffed with continuous criticism by dissidents and ambiguity by central leadership over his leadership because despite several statements, no firm disciplinary action was taken against Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and C.P. Yogeshwar.”

“Although Arun Singh has tried to clear the air about his continuity but someone in Delhi is helping dissidents. Yediyurappa knows he will be able to continue as the CM till he enjoys Prime Minister’s trust. He has given his views, now it is up to the high command to take a decision,” the leader added.

Last month, Arun Singh, Karnataka BJP in charge visited Banglore to hold a discussion with dissident MLAs. Although Singh made it clear that there was no question of a change in leadership in the state, no strict action was taken against the dissidents.

Also read: ‘Will start work’, reiterates Karnataka CM amid row over Mekedatu project with Tamil Nadu

Change in leadership unlikely for now

Sources added the CM met the BJP high command because “he wanted to sense how long he will be able to continue as CM.”

Meanwhile, a senior BJP leader told ThePrint that BSY’s leadership isn’t under threat for now. “There is no immediate urgency as there are still two years left before BSY’s term ends. Taking a decision at this time will invite fresh trouble about the stability of government, but it does not mean he is safe for the entire term.”

However, another source said the central command is assessing the situation and a change in guard may happen once the CM visits Delhi after completing his two-year term this month.

The source, however, added that changing leadership is not easy as BSY enjoys the support of Lingayat community, who form a crucial 17 per cent vote bank. “Without taking him on board and placating his son, it will not be easy to install anyone else. Most importantly, the BJP has to factor in whether the new leader will ensure party’s return in the southern state in 2023.”

Also read: This round to dislodge Karnataka CM Yediyurappa fails, but dissidents not ready to bow


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