Bengaluru, January 18:- The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) high command will remove B S Yediyurappa as the Chief Minister of Karnataka in April this year, said former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday (January 17).
Siddaramaiah’s statement comes a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Yediyurappa would continue as the Chief Minister of the state and complete his term till 2023.
Speaking to the media, Siddaramaiah said, “After April, Yediyurappa will be removed from the Chief Minister chair. I am saying this based on credible information from my sources in the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). Amit Shah has announced that Yediyurappa would continue as the CM. Will any political party’s leaders say there would be a change in leadership? It would become difficult for the government to function if they do. But I have information that Yediyurappa will be removed.”
On January 13, Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, one of the leaders who defected from Congress to the BJP in 2019, had said that there would be a “major restructuring” of the state cabinet in between April and May this year. This had led to the Congress accusing Yediyurappa of indulging in dynasty politics. Congress leaders including Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar had raised the issue after BJP MLA from Bijapur City, Basangouda Patil Yatnal had accused Yediyurappa and his son B Y Vijayendra of indulging in dynasty politics after the cabinet expansion on January 13.
Reacting to these accusations, Shah on Saturday said, “I have been reading the statements of Congress leaders that this will happen and that will happen in Karnataka, but I want to tell everyone that the BJP government will not only complete the term but also return to power for five years with an absolute majority,” Shah said.
Speculation has been rife in Karnataka that the BJP’s national leaders are looking to find a replacement for the 77-year-old Chief Minister. The BJP, as a practice, offers its leaders aged above 75 years an advisory role within the party. Yediyurappa was offered the Chief Minister post despite this rule as he was responsible for toppling the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in 2019 by poaching 17 MLAs from the two parties.
Rumours have been doing the rounds since 2020 that Yediyurappa would be forced to retire before his term completes as the BJP wants the new face of the party to make a smooth transition. The Chief Minister currently holds massive support from the Lingayat community, the BJP’s largest voter base in the state. If Yediyurappa is unceremoniously removed, the BJP could face the threat of backlash from the community. (MR, Inputs: Agencies)