Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s sudden trip to Delhi to meet the top leaders of his party raised questions about how long he would continue in his post. The Chief Minister insisted he isn’t going anywhere. When asked about rumours of a leadership change in the state BJP, he told reporters in Delhi, “There is no truth in it. Not at all. Not at all. Not at all.”
Mr Yediyurappa met top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday. He called on Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP chief JP Nadda today.
But the sudden trip to Delhi added fuel to speculation that the 78-year-old leader was on his way out. Some Karnataka BJP MLAs have been vocal in their criticism of Mr Yediyurappa and his son Vijayendra, who accompanied him to Delhi.
The critics not being called out publicly for their attacks on the Chief Minister added to the doubts over the stability of his position. Against this, the BJP state in-charge, Arun Singh, supported Mr Yediyurappa after his visit to Bengaluru where he met MLAs. And the Chief Minister’s own assessment of Mr Singh’s visit.
After the meeting with Amit Shah, the Chief Minister said, “He (Amit Shah) said Karnataka has a good future. We are completely with you. That is what the Prime Minister said yesterday, too. So did JP Nadda and Rajnath Singh. They all spoke very happily with me. They said it was a big responsibility on me to build the party. ‘You must fulfil that’. I said ‘I would work day and night for the party’. They happily expressed their confidence in me,” the Karnataka Chief Minister said.
Mr Yediyurappa returned to Bengaluru later today. “My Delhi visit was very successful. I spent half-an-hour with PM Modi talking about national and state politics. The same way with Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, JP Nadda – I spoke to them about the state situation and the way ahead. It was a successful meeting,” Mr Yediyurappa said.
“They had only one expectation – once again that even more Lok Sabha seats are won in Karnataka. We should focus on strengthening the party. In the coming days we will do what we need to build the party. I have given them that assurance by working together,” Mr Yediyurappa said.
On whether he would continue to be the Chief Minister for the next 22 months till the assembly election and if there has been any discussion about his successor, Mr Yediyurappa said, “So far nothing on that. I have said earlier, there is no shortage of leaders in BJP. For now they have given me the responsibility. We will all work together.”
He indicated he would complete his term as Chief Minister. “There is no confusion about that. The national leaders have said you should build the party as Chief Minister. It is our duty to follow what they say at different occasions. There has been no question of change or leadership. They have said we should all work together,” Mr Yediyurappa said.
On whether there was any discussion on complaints against him by state BJP leaders, he said, “Everybody knows some people have spoken against me. I haven’t bothered about it. The national leaders didn’t ask me about it.”
“On the 26th, as you know it is my second anniversary of becoming Chief Minister, on that day I am calling for a legislature party meeting of the BJP. We will all be together and decide how to strengthen the party going ahead. There was no talk about any change,” Mr Yediyurappa said.
Mr Yediyurappa, the BJP’s first and only Chief Minister in south India, has almost completed two years in charge since he took over from the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in July 2019.