The BJP Central leadership will most likely be deciding Tuesday on who is the party's face in Karnataka after BS Yediyurappa (BSY) has resigned from the post of Chief Minister on Monday- July 26 after completing his two years in the office. As Yediyurappa, who is one of the oldest Chief Ministers in India, has stepped down after speculations and allegations of corruption that were levelled against him by the leaders within the party, the BJP High Command is in the process of electing his successor without stumbling the party's base in Karnataka ahead of the assembly polls.
According to reports, the BJP Central leadership has directed its Karnataka unit to convene a meeting of its legislature party in Bangalore for talks on who will replace Yediyurappa as the Chief Minister. It has been reported that the Karnataka BJP will finalize and announce the successor of Yediyurappa on the night hours of Tuesday. While several names are on the card, the BJP will most likely be picking a leader from the Lingayat Community as the Chief Minister as this community gives a strong voter base for BJP in Karnataka.
Yediyurappa was also from that community and the BJP will start preparing for the state assembly polls, the party would pick a leader from the Lingayat community in its bid to retain the voter base for the polls. 78-year-old Yediyurappa has resigned as the Chief Minister on Monday and he announced his decision of stepping down while addressing in an event organized to mark two years of his government. Yediyurappa said that he is resigning out of happiness and added that he was grateful to Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP President JP Nadda for entrusting him with the affairs of Karnataka for the past two years.
Yediyurappa has met Karnataka Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot and handed over his resignation. The Governor has accepted his resignation and dissolved the council of ministers headed by Yediyurappa with immediate effect and asked him to be a caretaker Chief Minister until his successor is announced. Karnataka BJP leader Basavaraj S Bommai, who served as the Home Minister of Karnataka in Yediyurappa's cabinet, told the reporters in Bangalore that there is a legislature party meeting today (Tuesday) at 7 pm at a private hotel in Bangalore.
After the legislature party meeting, a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board will be held where a final decision will be taken on who should replace Yediyurappa. According to PTI, Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Kishan Reddy, along with BJP General Secretary and Karnataka in-charge Arun Singh - the observers from the BJP Central leadership are expected to attend the legislature party meeting. After these meetings, the high command including Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP President JP Nadda will discuss the candidatures and will finalize the face of BJP in Karnataka after BSY.
Who is leading the race to replace BS Yediyurappa?
With the sudden travel to Delhi, Karnataka state minister of Mines Murugesh Nirani has joined the race to become the next Karnataka Chief Minister. Other contenders include BJP General Secretary CT Ravi, Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi (Lingayat), Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, and former Union Minister Sadanandha Gowda. Arvind Bellard, a two-time MLA from the Hubli-Dharwad constituency, is also in the race.
According to our sources, Prahlad Joshi is leading the race as the BJP leadership is planning to replace a Lingayat with a Lingayat. Joshi's current tenure as the Union Minister has also helped him lead the race. For BJP, losing Yediyurappa's stronghold is equal to losing the Lingayat community- the strong vote bank for the Central ruling party that pillars the party's reign in the state. Yediyurappa has demanded the BJP leadership to politically elevate his son Vijayendra and the BJP is also thinking to expand the Karnataka cabinet, after choosing Yediyurappa's successor, to accommodate the rebels.
Yediyurappa's resignation was widely expected on Monday as the result of a political crisis in the state where the veteran politician had earned a pile of rebels from within the party in his two-year term. Several leaders had against him by alleging that the Chief Minister has been indulging in corruption and letting his family members interfere in the administration. On Monday, he has brought the suspense of his resignation to an end, mirroring the flawed political tradition in Karnataka as he has become the only Chief Minister in Karnataka to serve as Chief Minister four times and stepping down from the post without completing even a single term.