There is no proposal or even a discussion to change Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Singh said on Thursday. Singh’s statement is seen as a renewed effort to stamp out the swirling rumors about the future of the 78-year-old BJP veteran in Karnataka’s top seat.
“(BS) Yediyurappa is the chief minister, is doing good work and will remain the chief minister,” Arun Singh, Rajya Sabha member and national general secretary in-charge of Karnataka said in Delhi on Thursday, describing suggestions that there was talk of changing the chief minister as “imaginary”.
He also showered praises on the Yediyurappa government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, something that has been cited by the chief minister’s critics to attack him.
Singh, who is expected to travel to Karnataka next week, also delivered a warning to Yediyurappa’s many detractors within the party, declaring that the party was ready to listen to anyone with grievances but could not allow them to criticize the chief minister in public.
The senior BJP leader’s support for BS Yediyurappa comes at a time when the BJP is trying to stop his critics within the party from targeting the chief minister. Over the last few days and weeks, several state leaders within the BJP have sought Yediyurappa’s exit over of corruption, mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic and charges that his son, BY Vijayendra, runs a parallel administration under the aegis of his father.
Several ministers and legislators have made several trips to Delhi to complain against the chief minister as well as seek his ouster.
The statements had added to the challenges of the saffron outfit, whose image was getting dented in the process, prompting the state unit to finally take some action against those speaking out.
On Monday, the Karnataka BJP issued gag orders, restricting its ministers, legislators and party workers from speaking out against the chief minister.
However, the party is yet to take any action against Basanagouda Patil (Yatnal), the firebrand legislator from Bijapur city, who has repeatedly leveled charges of corruption against Yediyurappa and his family over the last six months.
CP Yogeshwar, Karnataka’s minister for tourism, environment and ecology, has also visited Delhi and sought a change in leadership as well as indicating that Yediyurappa’s son was wielding power in the minister’s home district of Ramanagara.
The expression of support from the BJP’s state and central leadership comes days after Yediyurappa announced on Sunday that he was ready to step down as chief minister if the high command told him to do so. Yediyurappa’s assertion, which came as a surprise, was interpreted by many to imply that he had reached an agreement with the top brass to continue in power.
On Thursday, Arun Singh reiterated the state unit’s order prohibiting state leaders from attacking the chief minister. Singh said no one within the party should speak out against the chief minister and instead, should focus on Covid-19 relief.
“I am going to listen and talk to anyone who has grievances,” Singh said, referring to his upcoming visit to Karnataka.
“Such statements (attacking Yediyurappa) are given by one or two people. But my opinion is that no one should give such statements in public. If anyone has any such things to say, I am going to hear it. But such public statements should not be given by anyone. Those who have given such statements, I will definitely talk to them asking why they did so,” Singh added.