BJP Karnataka state president Nalin Kumar Kateel on Saturday asserted that there were no talks at any level about replacing Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa at this juncture. Speaking to reporters in Mangaluru, Kateel asserted that Yediyurappa will not be replaced until the Assembly term ends. "There is no such talk until now about this topic at any levels," The MP from Dakshina Kannada retorted in response to a question from reporters.
"Who has raised the issue of leadership change? Who has questioned it? Has our national president or national office bearers or core committee members or our legislators have spoken in this regard?" Kateel asked the media. The statement comes at a time when some members within the party, including senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, have been talking about the CM replacement openly.
Earlier, scotching the rumours about leadership change in Karnataka, three prominent BJP leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, said on Saturday that incumbent Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa will remain the CM till the end of his term.
Of late, rumours have been doing the rounds that the party's national leaders are planning to replace Yediyurappa by this year-end as he is already 77 years old, which is in violation of BJP's own unwritten law of retirement for its leaders. By the time the Assembly term ends in 2023, he will be 80.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayana and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa, too, rejected the media reports about the possible leadership change, stating that Yediyurappa will complete his term in office.
Like several BJP top leaders in the state, Savadi, Narayana and Eshwarappa are touring districts allocated to them to monitor the 'Grama Swarajya', an election campaign designed by the party to win the forthcoming local body polls in the state.
Speaking to reporters in Chitradurga district, Savadi said that it is futile to even discuss on a public forum whether their party leader will be changed. "Yediyurappa has got assurance from none other than our party high command that he will be the CM until his term ends (for the next two-and-a-half years)," he said.