Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa named his former personal assistant and grand-nephew NR Santhosh as a political secretary of the Chief Minister on Saturday.
Santhosh was seen with rebel leaders from the Congress and JD(S) around the time they resigned, prompting the fall of the coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy in 2019. This paved the way for the BJP to seize power in Karnataka.
Santhosh was seen with 11 rebel leaders from the Congress and the JD(S) outside the Oakwood Hotel in Bengaluru’s UB City just a few minutes before the legislators tendered their resignations to the Speaker’s office.
He was also seen with independent MLA H Nagesh when he boarded a flight at the HAL airport in Bengaluru.
The appointment of Santhosh, a known former aide of Yediyurappa and a BJP member with close links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), comes at a time seven BJP leaders, particularly from north Karnataka, got together for closed-door meetings.
The appointment of Santhosh means that he will join senior MLAs MP Renukacharya and SR Vishwanath as political secretaries to the Chief Minister.
Prior to his appointment, there were rumours of NR Santhosh distancing himself from Yediyurappa's camp and identifying himself with a rival camp. Santhosh worked closely with BS Yediyurappa for three years in the lead-up to the 2018 Assembly elections, interacting with MLA candidates across the state at that time.
"For many MLAs and party members, Santhosh was the point of contact to reach Yediyurappa but this was not the case after he became the Chief Minister," a source in the BJP told TNM. This came as a surprise to many within the party since he was repeatedly seen with rebel leaders from the Congress and the JD(S) and playing a role. But with his appointment as political secretary, he is once again involved closely with BS Yediyurappa.