Udayavni Special

Rumblings in Karnataka BJP wide open, party incharge Singh meets lawmakers individually


PTI, Jun 18, 2021, 8:25 AM IST

Bengaluru: Rumblings within the ruling BJP in Karnataka were out in the open on Thursday, even as the party’s national general secretary in-charge of the State Arun Singh met legislators individually, in the backdrop of speculation over replacing Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.

Amid his efforts to project that the party was united as a couple of disgruntled legislators made open statements against the government and its leadership, Singh warned them of consequences, even as he stated that their conduct has damaged the party’s image and hurt lakhs of workers.

MLC AH Vishwanath’s openly demanded Yediyurappas ouster, and his allegations of corruption and interference in the administration against the chief minister’s younger son BY Vijayendra, who is also BJP vice-president, resulted in a political slugfest, as it elicited sharp reactions from CM’s political secretaries MP Renukacharya and SR Vishwanath.

To add to this, allegations of phone-tapping and conspiracy to fix him by MLA Arvind Bellad, who is said to be from the faction of the party that is seeking Yediyurappa’s replacement, caused further embarrassment to the BJP.

Singh, who met over 40 legislators individually on the second day of his three-day visit to the State, ruled out any talks with legislators on the leadership issue and expressed happiness over the functioning of party workers and MLAs at the ground level.

Commenting on statements by some disgruntled legislators, he said, everyone must see that their conduct should in no way cause damage to the party.

”Just two or three people are hurting lakhs of workers and are causing damage to the party…we are watching it, we will talk to them, and if things continue whatever needs to be done will be done. I have said whatever I have to, it is not necessary to tell before media what we will do,” he said.

MLC AH Vishwanath, who has been embarrassing the party with his statements, after meeting Singh, said, like in other parties ”family politics and demon politics” is seen in BJP too and advised that Yediyurappa become ”margdarshak” and make way for others.

”Yediyuruppa should become margdarshak and in his place, a leader from ‘Panchamasali Veerashiva’ community should be appointed as chief minister giving him a good team of Ministers so as to be a bridge between the party and the government,” he said, citing the CM’s age and health.

He also continued to level allegations of corruption and interference in the administration against Vijayendra.

The CM’s political secretaries MP Renukacharya and SR Vishwanath sharply reacted, questioning the MLC’s ”morality.”

State BJP general secretary N Ravi Kumar too rejected the statement outright and said the state unit has sought action against the MLC by bringing the matter to Singh’s notice.

Reacting to Bellad’s allegations of phone-tapping and conspiracy to fix him, Ravi Kumar, on behalf of the party said, there is no question of tapping his phone.

”He is our legislator…I don’t know why he (Bellad) has made such a statement, the party won’t accept it, the party will talk to him,” he said, while Renukacharya termed it ”cheap publicity”.

Singh during his meetings with legislators individually is said to have discussed topics relating to organisation work, development works in the constituency, state administration, and also recent developments in the party, sources said.

During the discussions, several legislators are said to have discussed social justice and regional imbalance in the Yediyurappa cabinet and thereby have tried to make a case for a Cabinet reshuffle, they said.

Social Welfare Minister B Sriramulu, after meeting with Singh, expressed hope that the party will take the right decision at the right time on making him the deputy chief minister, a demand echoed by his close associate and MLA from Ballari, Somashekhar Reddy.

Though Bellad, an MLA from Hubli-Dharwad West and Vijayapura MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, who are said to be from the faction seeking Yeddyurappa’s replacement, did not meet Singh on Thursday, Tourism Minister CP Yogeshwar, who is also reportedly disgruntled, had discussions with the national general secretary.

Singh may meet some legislators on Friday as well, before taking part in the state BJP core committee meeting scheduled in the evening.

In what appeared to be a show of solidarity, several ministers and a host of legislators made a beeline to the chief minister’s residence, while 10-15 legislators met at Yediyurappa’s political secretary MP Renukacharya’s residence for breakfast.

Several of them questioned the need for leadership change while asserting that Yediyurappa will complete the term and will lead the party in the next assembly polls due two years away.

They also demanded action against those who are making public statements on the issue and creating confusion.

Speculation has been rife for some time now that a section of the ruling BJP is trying to push for unseating Yediyurappa, despite Singh ruling out replacing the chief minister and asserting that the 78-year-old Lingayat strongman will continue in the top post.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress and the JD(S) have demanded dismissal of the Yediyurappa government, as the ”lack of leadership is leading to anarchy.”

Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah also urged Yediyurappa to initiate an investigation by a sitting high court judge about the phone tapping allegations made by Bellad.

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