Amit Shah pulls up Karnataka Home Minister during visit to Bengaluru
For Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, what was supposed to be a euphoric week – with a huge celebration planned for his one year in office – turned out to be the biggest political crisis of his tenure. And Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state on Thursday, August 4 put the CM and the Karnataka BJP unit on the backfoot even more.
The midnight meeting between Shah and top BJP leaders and Karnataka ministers was not a ‘rosy’ one, described a source privy to the developments. The situation in Karnataka “warrants a review and Shah sought a status update,” the source said. Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra was pulled up and remonstrated for the law and order situation, the source added.
Bommai too was not spared. He was told that as the head of the government, he has failed to keep things in order, and the not-so-amicable meeting ended with a stern warning to Bommai, sources said.
Shah was in Bengaluru on a short visit to attend the ‘Sankalp Se Siddhi’ conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The visit was his first to the state after the spate of communal murders in coastal Karnataka and the public display of anger by BJP cadre and members of other Hindu organisations in the state.
Shah also reportedly questioned the party leadership in Karnataka how they could miss reading the pulse of the karyakatas and allow so much anger to go unaddressed.
Appointment of new party state president
Incidentally, Karnataka BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel’s term ended on August 3 and he has told the high command that he does not wish for an extension owing to health reasons, sources said. Kateel took office on August 19, 2019.
Sources in Delhi BJP say that Kateel was not seen as a ‘war-time president’ and ahead of what is expected to be a high-voltage election in the state, the central BJP leadership is looking at a more aggressive and experienced leader. In view of this, three leaders have emerged as the frontrunners.
Party National General Secretary and former minister CT Ravi is one of the frontrunners, with BJP strongman BL Santosh having expressed his support to the four-time MLA. The second name doing the rounds is that of Kannada and Culture Minister V Sunil Kumar. The two-time MLA is known to be a great organiser at the grassroots level. The final name on the list is that of Shobha Karandlaje, who is currently the Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare in the Modi Cabinet.
The final decision is to be taken after the Vice Presidential elections.