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Will resign if high command asks: Yediyurappa

Bengaluru Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Sunday said that he would forgo the chief ministerial post if the central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asks him to step down
PUBLISHED ON JUN 07, 2021 12:40 AM IST

Bengaluru Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Sunday said that he would forgo the chief ministerial post if the central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asks him to step down.

“Till I have the confidence of the Delhi high command, I will continue as chief minister till then. The day they say that we do not want you, I will step down that day and continue to work day and night for the development of the state. I am in no confusion over this,” Yediyurappa told reporters on Sunday.

His statements indicate either a softening of his hard stance or the possibility that the BJP is likely to have agreed to continue with the 78-year-old helming affairs at least till the end of his current term in office.

The statements come at a time when several ministers from his own government and legislators from the BJP continue to mobilize support for Yediyurappa’s immediate ouster.

Yediyurappa has been sworn in as chief minister a record four times and has had to forgo the top chair well before completion of his term.

The chief minister is trying to negotiate with the central leadership of the party to retain him at least till the 2023 assembly elections.

With no credible alternative yet, the BJP at the centre has been patient in its handling of the simmering political crisis in Karnataka to avoid a repeat of the backlash they faced in 2013 assembly polls.

A disgruntled Yediyurappa left the BJP in 2012 which reduced the saffron outfit to 50 out of the 224 seats in 2013 from 110 in 2010.

R Ashok, Karnataka’s minister for revenue on Sunday said that the debate over a possible leadership change in the state should end since senior leaders from the party have clarified that Yediyurappa will continue as the chief minister.

“We need his leadership today as well as in the future as well,” Ashok, considered to be part of Yediyurappa’s close circles, said. He said that the party will now work toward building its image and that any speculation of a leadership change should end now.

Yediyurappa has seen his own ministers and legislators take turns to rush to Delhi and meet the senior leadership to request for a change in leadership over the mishandling of the Covid-19 situation, corruption, poor performance in the bypolls and allegations that the chief minister’s son, BY Vijayendra is running a parallel administration in the state.

People aware of the developments said that Yediyurappa is negotiating to remain in power till at least the next assembly elections and to placate his son within the government. Vijayendra is the state BJP vice president and enjoys significant clout in the government and party. Vijayendra had met BJP national president JP Nadda on Thursday.

Several other BJP leaders also aired similar opinions backing Yediyurappa.

“There is no proposal for change of leadership before the party,” Pralhad Joshi, the union minister of parliamentary affairs, coal and mines said on Sunday.

Nalin Kumar Kateel, the state BJP president, gave an identical statement to reporters in Mangaluru. He said that there are no “rebels” within the party and the BJP will hold meetings with all legislators to hear their grievances this month.

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