Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is facing rumblings of dissent with around 15 leaders holding a late-night meeting at Large Scale Industries Minister Jagadish Shettarâ€™s residence. The meeting commenced late on Monday night and went on until the early hours of Tuesday with Hukkeri MLA Umesh Katti and Shorapur MLA Narasimha Nayak alias Raju Gouda expressing dissatisfaction over being left out of the cabinet.
BJP sources close to Jagadish Shettar say that the meeting was a show of strength and a display of dissent. â€śSince the Assembly session began on Tuesday, the leaders gathered one day ahead to send a message that they too have numbers to disrupt BSYâ€™s (BS Yediyurappaâ€™s) government if their demands are not taken seriously,â€ť the BJP leader said.
This development comes a few days after an unsigned letter was circulated among the media, criticising Yediyurappaâ€™a ability to perform his duties effectively due to old age. The four-page letter had suggested that the BJP high command must consider the 77-year-oldâ€™s health and make him the Governor of a state as â€śbefits his experience as a Chief Ministerâ€ť. The letter alleges that age-related problems have hampered his performance as CM.
Meanwhile, BJP insiders also say that for Yediyurappa, his first concern is to ensure that both his sons Raghavendra and Vijayendra have comfortable positions of power in the political sphere. His detractors, however, say that dissent is brewing within the party as Yediyurappa has â€śclosed himself offâ€ť from other leaders in the party and is surrounded by his family members. â€śYediyurappa has erected a wall around himself and he only listens to his family members, especially Vijayendra. His family members and relatives are indirectly in charge of everything and want to have a say in everything including party affairs. This does not stand well with other senior leaders,â€ť the BJP leader said.
Yediyurappaâ€™s detractors, who met late on Monday night are said to have discussed the issue of projecting Jagadish Shettar as the next Chief Ministerial face of the BJP. Incidentally, Jagadish Shettar served as the Chief Minister of Karnataka between 2012 and 2013. The BJP decided to appoint him as the CM after BS Yediyurappa led a rebellion against the then CM Sadananda Gowda. Yediyurppa's faction of MLAs had backed Shettar, leading to the party nominating him as the new CM in 2012.
â€śThey discussed launching speculation and what they can do to negotiate a better deal. They discussed that by pushing the age agenda, they have better luck convincing national leaders to ask Yediyurappa to retire from active politics and take over an advisory role by being appointed as the Governor,â€ť the source said.
However, the reason disgruntled BJP leaders have had not any luck in the arena so far, sources said, is because the high command remains unconvinced that the party does not need Yediyurappa at the helm of affairs in the state. â€śUntil the high command is convinced, there can be no move. The meeting and the unsigned letter are all part of the tactic where they are floating an idea around to see if it succeeds,â€ť the source added.