“There is no question of leadership change in Karnataka. The Chief Minister's position is not vacant and incumbent BS Yediyurappa is functioning efficiently,” Pralhad Joshi said.

Union Minister Pralhad Joshi
news Politics Sunday, May 30, 2021 - 11:37

Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi on Saturday, May 29, said there is no question of leadership change in Karnataka as the Chief Minister's position is not vacant and the incumbent BS Yediyurappa is functioning efficiently. BJP Member of Parliament from Dharwad, whose name is being speculated as a replacement for Karnataka Chief Minister Yediyurappa, said no such discussions have taken place involving him. He said the focus now should be on managing the COVID-19 pandemic and not leadership change. 

"Whether legislators had come to Delhi, what they did, I'm not aware. No one has met me nor have I met anyone. Also, the Chief Minister's position is not vacant, Yediyurappa is functioning efficiently," Joshi said. Speaking to reporters in Hubbali, he said the focus of everyone should be on managing the COVID situation and containing the spread of the pandemic, and not change of political leadership.

"Though he (Yediyurappa) is aged, he is functioning efficiently. And, there has been no discussion about leadership change keeping his age as the factor. There is no vacant position as far as the Chief Minister is concerned, there is no question (of leadership change)," he said in response to a question.

Speculations have been rife for some time now that efforts were on within the ruling BJP to exert pressure for unseating Yediyurappa, the 78-year-old Lingayat strong man. The recent visit by State Tourism Minister CP Yogeeshwara and Hubballi-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad to New Delhi, reportedly to meet the high command and express to it the need to rein in the Chief Minister, has given credibility to such speculation.

To a question about some legislators meeting him and putting pressure on him to become the Chief Minister, Joshi said no one has met him.

"When I'm in Hubballi or in Delhi, Ministers from the State come and meet me as I'm a minister at the Centre and have been working in the BJP for long on matters concerning the State and on work that has to happen from the Centre. Other than this, no other discussions have taken place," he said.

Ruling out a leadership change, Karnataka BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel too said that Yediyurappa is a "unanimous leader" and would complete the term.

Earlier too, there have been speculations that the BJP high command is mulling leadership change in Karnataka in the days to come considering Yediyurappa's advancing age. Though the BJP had officially denied such speculation in the past, it refuses to die down, with some within the party like senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal giving credence to it with his statements setting repeated deadlines for Yediyurappa's exit.

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