Yet another attempt by dissidents to dislodge Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa from his position seems to have backfired. After cabinet minister CP Yogishwar landed in New Delhi to convince the BJP high command to unseat Yediyurappa, the ministers and MLAs loyal to the Karnataka stalwart held a press meet in Bengaluru expressing complete faith in his leadership. They ridiculed the efforts by some to oust Yediyurappa and called them “waste”.
A Congress turncoat, Yogishwar had played a major role in engineering defections from the ruling Congress–JDS coalition in 2019 to make Yediyurappa chief minister. The chief minister made him an MLC and later a cabinet minister. Yogishwar has now turned against Yediyurappa and has also mobilised some MLAs to dethrone him.
On Tuesday, he arrived in New Delhi to persuade the BJP high command to give marching orders to the 78-year-old veteran. He was accompanied by MLA Aravind Bellad, who is allegedly secretly nurturing chief ministerial ambitions.
According to insiders, the party in-charge for Karnataka Arun Singh and BJP national president JP Nadda refused to grant them an audience, indirectly rebuking the dissidents for carrying out such activities during a raging pandemic.
The moment the chief minister got wind of their activities in the national capital, he ordered his loyalists to rally behind him and send a strong message out to some leaders who often try to destabilise his government.
R Ashoka, state revenue minister and a Yediyurappa loyalist admitted that he was aware of the activities in New Delhi. Speaking to the media he said, “We know that some people are trying to stop oxygen supply to the current government. But, we are ensuring an uninterrupted supply of oxygen.”
Senior BJP MLA SR Vishwanath lashed out at the detractors declaring that Yediyurappa will continue in the office until the next Assembly elections.
Another senior BJP MLA Madalu Virupakshappa went a step further claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah won’t risk losing a BJP government in the south by removing Yediyurappa. Many neutral MLAs also expressed reservations over the activities of the dissidents.
One of them, on the condition of anonymity, said, “It is true that all is not well. We have many issues. But, this is not the right time to demand a leadership change in the state. Without Yediyurappa, BJP will bite the dust in the next Assembly elections. We want the high command to put a brake to corruption and his family rule. We are not in favour of a new chief minister.”
The dissidents have trained their guns on the chief minister’s son BY Vijayendra alleging he was running the government like a de-facto chief minister.
Some in the party believe that the powerful BJP national general secretary, BL Santosh, is behind the recurring rebel activities in the state. To give credence to such claims, two of his close confidantes BJP national general secretary CT Ravi and BJP Youth Wing national president Tejasvi Surya have recently hit out at the state government questioning its handling of the Covid-19 second wave embarrassing BSY.
However, the chief minister’s camp is playing it safe by not making any direct attacks on the Santosh faction. Recently, he had met the chief minister who had declared that he has the full backing from Santosh.
With the latest attempt to unseat Yediyurappa hitting roadblocks, the beleaguered chief minister can breathe easily for some more time.