Karnataka Power Politics: Will The State See Another CM Yet Again?

Karnataka Power Politics: Will The State See Another CM Yet Again?Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi recently
  • Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is rumoured to be putting in his papers soon. This has seen a sudden show of solidarity by Lingayat pontiffs in the state who warn against moves to dislodge the community stalwart.

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, with his son B Y Vijayendra in tow, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and party President J P Nadda in Delhi on 17 July. It was said to be a meeting to discuss matters relating to a key water projects, developmental works in the state, with rumours of a discussion of a cabinet revamp among others.

Post this visit, Yediyurappa addressing the media said the central leadership had entrusted him the task of strengthening the party and that there was no question of leadership change.

This was reiterating statements made after the visit of the party's national general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Arun Singh a month ago amidst rising disagreements within the party that kept setting deadlines for his exit from the top role. Since a section of MLA's had been asking for his dismissal on charges of corruption, nepotism and his son Vijayendra's interference in governance among others, this meeting with the party's top brass was said to dampen the rising rebel spirits within BJP.

But as hinted by his son's presence at the meeting with the central leaders and his statements about 'strengthening the party' and 'taking all leaders along', there were rumours of a trade-off that would make way for the son to rise while the Lingayat stalwart takes a back seat.

But in less than a week from his Delhi meet, and as has been characteristic(sadly for him) of the grand old man's tryst with the top chair in the state, the second anniversary of his term may see him give up the post.

There he was, the tallest leader of the BJP in Karnataka issuing statements loud and clear that there was no threat to his chair, nor any questions of his replacement. And in a matter of days comes a political whirlwind of change of CM amidst various events that have taken the state's power circles by storm and left everyone guessing.

And given that this comes close on the heels of the 'allegedly fake' audio leak where the state party President Nalin Kumar Kateel was heard talking to someone over the phone claiming that the current CM's days on the chair were numbered, has stirred the entire Lingayat community whose seers have all given statements against any such moves by the BJP.

The timeline of events is interesting as the political scenario is taking new turns every hour.

July 17: BSY confirms his chair is safe

July 18: Audio that is being claimed to have Nalin Kumar Kateel confirm the replacement options, that there were three names being looked at, that it would be someone from Delhi and that the rejig would also see the like of Jagadeesh Shettar, Eshwarappa being shown the door.

July 20: Political unrest begins as one Lingayat seer after another begin to issue statements against any such coup to dethrone Yediyurappa with some even warning that it would be disastrous for the BJP.

After a meeting with the CM, around two dozen pontiffs were heard saying that the Lingayat leader said he would have to two the line drawn by the party's high command, but if such a situation were to arise, the seers would "mobilise 500 seers" and that the "party would face consequences" if they were to change the CM.

July 21: More than 30 heads of various mutts, many prominent ones among them, including the pontiff of Siddhaganga mutt visit the residence of Yediyurappa after which they address the press saying they all seek that he be allowed to complete term.

The sudden landing and rallying of the seers is being called a steered attempt to reinstate the backing of a community that makes up almost 16 per cent of the state's population and a large vote-bank of the party to BSY and to nudge the party high command to 'reconsider the decision'.

But it is not just Lingayat seers backing the grand old man of the state's politics. Among others, and unexpectedly, Udupi's Pejavar mutt seer Shri Vishwaprasanna Tirtha too has advised against a mid term change and vouched for the way in which the incumbent CM has handled the affiars of the state through the recent crisis.

"We dont know of the internal affairs of the party. But it is my personal opinion that change isnt advisable at this stage, said the seer, as quoted.

In other reports from noon today, the state's Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the rumours were baseless and that these were attempts to only 'create political instability'.

All eyes are now on the dinner party, which was to originally be a legislators meet in commemoration of the two year anniversary of the party in government, and the events leading upto it, as the party is said to be attempting a smooth transfer of power given that the state will go to elections in 2023 again and while it has many a contenders for the top post, none as tall as the septegenuarian whose rise has been synonymous with that of the party in the state.

Harsha is a staff writer at Swarajya.


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