From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Bengaluru, Jul 19: Political circles are agog with speculation over the likely resignation of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who will be completing two years in office on July 26, possibly on July 28.
The Chief Minister, who went to Delhi last week and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh as well as BJP National President J P Nadda, has already announced that the State BJP Legislature Party meeting will be held on July 26 to mark the second anniversary.
According to informed sources, the 78-year-old Yediyurappa is likely to announce his decision to relinquish office. However, in politics, last minute changes cannot be ruled out as without Yediyurappa’s willing consent, the going may not be smooth for the newcomer.
State BJP President and Mangaluru MP Nalin Kumar Kateel’s reported audio clip on Yediyurappa’s resignation, though denied for the record, is said to be not far from truth.
Yediyurappa has been the most prominent exception to the unwritten rule in the BJP after Modi came to power in 2014 that political leaders will not be allowed to continue in office upon reaching the age of 75 years.
Influential leaders from the politically powerful Veerashaiva or Lingayat community such as Basavaraj Patil Yatnal, who hails from Vijayapura, Aravind Bellad from Dharwad or the present Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh R Nirani from Bilagi in Bagalkot district are said to be front-runners for the coveted post. Of the three, Yatnal and Bellad have been openly gunning for Yediyurappa and demanding change of leadership while Nirani is Yediyurappa’s staunch supporter.
The ruling party, which enjoys a strong following from the Lingayat community to which Yediyurappa belongs, wants to consolidate its hold over the community as the other dominant community of Vokkaligas is divided between JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda and his son H D Kumaraswamy and KPCC Chief D K Shivakumar, who is also a Vokkaliga.
The Congress party also has Siddaramaiah, who belongs to the backward Kuruba community and has support among backward classes, while senior party leader Mallikarjuna Kharge, who is the party leader in Rajya Sabha, enjoys the support of the Dalits. However, the BJP hopes to win over the other communities including Dalits. BJP is believed to be not so sure of Ministers R Ashok, Dr C N Ashwath Narayan or C P Yogeshwar, who are Vokkaligas, winning the support of the community. Former Chief Minister and former Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, also from the community, is unlikely to be chosen. Senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar or Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, both Lingayats, and K S Eshwarappa from the Kuruba community are said to be not in the race.
Political observers believe that the party high command has convinced Yediyurappa to honourably step down to pave the way for his successor to prepare the party for the ensuing assembly polls in the State in 2023 and also the Lok Sabha polls in 2024.