BJP national General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka Arun Singh on Sunday asserted that B S Yediyurappa will remain the Chief Minister and that the much awaited expansion of the state cabinet was likely soon. He also warned leaders against making statements in public on issues relating to the party.
“I have said a number of times, he (Yediyurappa) is our CM, he will remain CM. Under his leadership (we are going).. he is taking care of all sections of the society. He is one of the prominent leaders of the party here,” Singh said in response to a question about leadership change.
Speaking to reporters in Shivamogga, he said, “why do you raise such hypothetical imaginary questions? I can’t reply.” Singh was on a visit to the state to participate in the special meeting of the state BJP and also its core committee at Shivamogga.
Ruling out leadership change, Yediyurappa too had recently asserted that he will remain in the post of CM for the remaining over two year period and complete the term, and there was no confusion regarding this within the ruling BJP. There has been intense speculation in some quarters that BJP high command is mulling leadership change in Karnataka in the days to come considering Yediyurappa’s age (77 years). Though state BJP has out rightly rejected such speculations, it refuses to die down, with some in the party like senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal giving credence to it with their statements.
Reacting to a query regarding Yatnal’s statements, Singh said, “Any karyakarta (worker) or any leader, small or big, has to speak within the limits. If somebody has the problem one can come and discuss one-to-one because there is internal democracy in our party, but speaking publicly is not right.”
Yatnal, who is Vijayapura City MLA had in October claimed that Yediyurappa will not remain Chief Minister for long and the high command has decided that his successor will be from the north Karnataka region. He had also recently indicated the possibility of historical changes in the state after Sankranti.
Maintaining that the cabinet expansion was Chief Minister’s prerogative, Singh said it will happen soon. “It will happen soon, it is the prerogative of the Chief Minister. I can only say- it will happen soon,” he said in response to a question. Yediyurappa has been waiting for some time now to carry out the cabinet exercise, as he was asked by BJP national president J P Nadda during their meeting in New Delhi on November 18, to wait for the clearance from the central leadership.
The cabinet expansion or reshuffle is expected to be a tightrope walk for the Chief Minister, considering that there are too many aspirants, from the party old guard to Congress- JD(S) rebels who are now BJP legislators. The cabinet currently has 27 members, and seven berths are still vacant.
Responding to a question on the possibility of an alliance with JD(S) in the days to come, Singh questioned the need for it and said the party will fight and win elections on its own strength. “We are a ruling party here, we are the number one party here. Whenever the elections happen here BJP will win with absolute majority and form the government. Why go with anyone? We will fight and win on our own strength,” he said. PTI