Karnataka BJP leader Basanagouda Yatnal stirred controversy on Tuesday when he suggested that the BJP high command is looking to replace Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.in the near future. He also suggested that the next Chief Minister of the state will be a leader from north Karnataka.
"We got a grant of Rs 125 crore and there was a tiff between us and Chief Minister. He does everything for Shivamogga. He will be done in some time. His time has also come (implying its time for Yediyurappa to step down). If we had those Rs 125 crore, we could have concretised all roads in Bijapur. But we donâ€™t have it. I will get it some how. Umesh Katti has given statement asking if he is Shivamogga Chief Minister or Karnataka Chief Minister. Even those above him are done with him.' Yatnal said.
"He has become CM due to the votes of north Karnataka people. Do people vote for us in Mandya, Chamarajanagara or Kolar? North Karnataka voted our MLAs in. A majority of MLAs are from north Karnataka," he added.
Yatnal had earlier asked Yediyurappa to sort out the regional imbalance in the Karnataka cabinet. He is also known for making controversial statements and was in the news earlier this year for calling centenarian freedom fighter and activiist from Karnataka - HS Doreswamy a 'Pakistani agent'.
In June, a luncheon hosted by BJP leader Umesh Katti and involving Yatnal and other senior leaders from north Karnataka had led to talk of dissidence within the BJP. Yediyurappa had brushed off the reports of the meeting stating that he was too busy with work.
Though Yatnal is known for making controversial remarks, sources told TNM that Yediyurappa is under greater pressure after Power TV, a private Kannada television channel, ran a series of programmes in September airing the audio of a sting operation allegedly done on a member of the Chief Minister's family. In its programmes, Power TV alleged corruption, a claim that was later highlighted by the Karnataka unit of the Congress. There is murmur within the party that he should be replaced by a younger Lingayat leader.