Tourism minister CP Yogeeshwara and legislator Arvind Bellad reportedly visited Delhi with complaints from several other legislators against Yediyurappa.

Picture of Yediyurappa with Vidhana Souda in the background
news politics Thursday, May 27, 2021 - 16:39

Amidst reports of BJP leaders once again pushing for BS Yediyurappa to be replaced as Karnataka Chief Minister, he has rubbished the attempts at dislodging him. Speaking to the media in Bengaluru on Thursday, Yediyurappa said “Just because someone went somewhere, it does not mean anything. They have been given an appropriate response,” referring to two BJP leaders reportedly camping in Delhi hoping to meet the BJP high command.

“At a time when people are suffering because of COVID-19, anyone including legislators, ministers should only focus on alleviating people’s sufferings. I am only working on that,” said Yediyurappa. Responding to questions on whether he will call for a legislative party meeting after June 7, as some of the MLAs reportedly demanded, Yediyurappa said he will not discuss it with the media.  

The latest in a series of controversies regarding Yediyurappa’s replacement as CM began when tourism minister CP Yogeeshwara and legislator Arvind Bellad visited Delhi armed with complaints from several other legislators against Yediyurappa’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. According to BJP sources, several leaders have been complaining of not being able to access the CM for at least an year, particularly since the onset of the pandemic. Other complaints include centralisation of all decisions, increasing interference of Yediyurappa’s family members and corruption.

While legislators on a warpath with Yediyurappa include former CM Jagadish Shettar, Siddu Savadi, Balachandra and Ramesh Jarkiholi, Basangouda Patil Yatnal along with Yogeshwara and Bellad. Several other leaders from Mumbai-Karnataka and Central Karnataka regions too are reportedly unhappy with Yediyurappa. The 78-year-old leader’s influence as a Lingayat leader was driven from these regions, and the waning of his sway in these pockets has spelled further trouble for Yediyurappa.

While party veterans like R Ashoka, Basavaraj Bommai, V Somanna, SR Vishwanath and Renukacharya continue to firmly stand behind Yediyurappa, others like Ashwath Narayan, B Sreeramulu are not taking sides, hoping that the fallout of the infighting will either way benefit them politically.

Those who were nursing a grudge against Yediyurappa for depriving them of power have, since the first lockdown, been using the COVID-19 crisis as a weapon against the CM. Sources close to Yediyurappa tell TNM that half a dozen complaints to the BJP national leadership in the last ten months have been made in which Yediyurappa’s detractors have accused him and ministers close to him of cutting access to the bureaucracy, not responding to requests for funds and facilities in their constituencies and responding to requests from the opposition MLAs more than the BJP MLAs.

Sources in Delhi tell TNM that the BJP high command has told the leaders who were camping that while any complaints of poor management of the COVID-19 crisis will be looked into, the CM should be given a free hand at this point to ensure that there is no hindrance in the state’s fight against COVID-19. The senior leaders have also reportedly told them that there is no question of change of leadership right now.

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