Rejecting speculations that the Karnataka Chief Minister would be replaced ahead of assembly polls next year, state BJP strongman B S Yediyurappa on Wednesday said Basavaraj Bommai will complete the term and no such discussions about a change has taken place in the party.
The former chief minister also said the party leadership will decide on the next state BJP president, once the incumbent Nalin Kumar Kateel’s term is over, and that he and other state leaders will tour Karnataka with an aim to come back to power in the 2023 assembly polls.
”There is no truth in it. There is no question of changes when it is seven to eight months for election. Basavaraj Bommai will continue as the Chief Minister. Such unnecessary reports in the media are not right, I appeal to you to stop it,” Yediyurappa said in response to a question on Congress’ tweets regarding replacement of the CM.
Speaking to reporters here, he said no one in the party is discussing changing the CM and there is no need for it.
”Even if someone has said something in this regard, there is no such change,” he said in response, when told that an ex-BJP MLA has indicated about replacement of the CM.
Bommai, who took over from Yediyurappa as Chief Minister, completed one year in office on July 28. He is currently under home isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Congress in a series of tweets has been speculating about Chief Minister Bommai being replaced and has even called him a ”puppet CM”.
There has been some buzz on and off within the state BJP in recent times, regarding some kind of an overhaul including at the top level, especially after the recent visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to the state.
Former BJP MLA B Suresh Gowda’s recent statement indicating some changes that the high command will take a call on replacing the chief minister and other matters in the interest of the party and to win the elections in future, had added to the speculations.
Clarifying that Shah discussed with him about the political developments and other issues when both met last week here, Yediyurappa said there was no discussion regarding leadership change and that question did not arise at all.
”I’m 100 per cent confident that Bommai will continue and complete the next eight month period as Chief Minister,” he said, adding that the CM at the earliest after consulting the national leadership will decide on cabinet expansion and other matters.
Regarding the new state party president, the veteran BJP leader said naturally once the term of the current president is completed, change will happen, and the high command will decide.
The incumbent state president Kateel’s term is ending by August 20.
To a question on any discussion with Shah regarding his recent announcement about vacating his Shikaripura assembly seat in favour of his son, Yediyurappa said, ”I have openly said that B Y Vijayendra (Yediyurappa’s son) should contest from there. Ultimately, the central leadership will take a decision and we will abide by it.” Asked about former chief minister Jagadish Shettar meeting him, Yediyurappa said, ”He is a senior leader and former CM, he had come to discuss political developments on getting to know that I’m going out of town.” Yediyurappa, who is travelling to Mantralaya, a pilgrim village located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, said, after coming back he along with other leaders will begin travelling together across Karnataka, and will see to it that Congress doesn’t come to power and BJP once again forms the government in the state.
Hitting out at Congress leaders Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar without naming them, he said, ”Some people are under illusion about becoming chief minister, there is no opportunity for it. It is certain that a BJP person will become the CM. BJP will make 100 per cent efforts to come back to power and win more than 130-135 seats.” ”We have the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah and we are 100 per cent sure about the BJP returning to power,” he added.
Earlier in the day, senior BJP leader and Revenue Minister R Ashoka challenged the Congress to name its CM candidate for the 2023 assembly polls as he accused the opposition party of unnecessarily raking up the issue of Karnataka Chief Minister replacement to cover up the rift within.
Ruling out CM Bommai’s replacement, Ashoka said BJP’s top leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have already said that the election will be under Bommai’s leadership and the party will abide by it.