NEW DELHI/BENGALURU: After staving off many attempts to dislodge him, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa faces an endgame.
The 78-year-old CM’s visit to New Delhi has more or less made it official that he will be replaced by a consensus candidate as his successor.
“For now I have been asked to continue as the chief minister,” Yediyurappa told reporters on Saturday after he returned to Bengaluru. The operative word is “for now.”
Sources in the BJP said Yediyurappa would be allowed to complete two years in office by the end of July after which he will cite health concerns and make way for a replacement.
The negotiations for a leadership change that have been going on for months now seem to have finally ended with the party assuring a future for his sons and an honourable exit for him.
While some in the party suggested that he might be appointed as the governor of Andhra Pradesh, Yediyurappa has been consistent in reiterating that he would help the party return to power in Karnataka with more seats in the next assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
In May this year this newspaper had reported that the BJP central leadership wanted an amicable change of guard in Karnataka. The next two weeks will see discussions on who will succeed Yediyurappa.
The CM met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, defence minister Rajnath Singh, home minister Amit Shah and party chief J P Nadda in Delhi. Emerging out of Shah’s residence, Yediyurappa stated that he had been asked to work hard and help the party win the next elections in the state.
The CM was accompanied by his son, BY Bijayendra, which further fueled speculation that he lobbied for passing the baton within the family.
While the BJP brass grapples with the leadership change, party insiders said the state government faces the prospect of a lame duck dispensation. There is no Lingayat leader in sight to match Yediyurappa’s status.
The party’s attempt to promote Sadananda Gowda, a Vokkaliga, ended in failure after he couldn’t come up to the expectations of Modi despite being given important ministries.