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With B S Yediyurappa on board, BJP confident of smooth transition in Karnataka

The Times of India logo The Times of India 27-07-2021 Akhilesh Singh
a man with his mouth open © Provided by The Times of India

NEW DELHI: While the resignation of B S Yediyurappa has the political circles speculating about the fallout in terms of how he has taken it and in the context of possible resentment among his fellow Lingayats, the BJP leadership is confident of managing the transition well.

Party sources said the leadership had taken care to get the veteran, key to BJP's success in forming the first-ever government in the south, on board on the succession plan it had been working on in view of Yediyurappa's age.

READ ALSO: A ‘compromised’ Yediyurappa had quit on July 10

They were also hopeful of the former CM's support for his successor who, in all likelihood, is going to be chosen from among the legislators.

A senior party functionary said the Lingayat leader, not known for being amenable to suggestions for sharing power, had come around to acknowledge that it was time he hanged his gloves.

READ ALSO: After days of suspense, B S Yediyurappa finally resigns as Karnataka CM; 6 names shortlisted for his successor

Sources also said that during his visit to New Delhi, the farmer leader had conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi his willingness to step down if the party so desired as well as to be part of the party's plans for the state which stood by Modi in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Sources said the party has decided to keep Yediyurappa engaged.

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and party general secretary (Karnataka in-charge) Arun Singh will visit Bengaluru as central observers for the BJP legislature party meeting in which the next chief minister will be decided.

READ ALSO: After BS Yediyurappa, who will lead Karnataka, BJP in 2023 polls?

There will not be BJP’s parliamentary board meeting as the party brass will go by the decision of the state legislature party.

Sources also claimed that the next CM will be someone from the existing legislators and none from the Centre will be moved to take up the responsibility as Karnataka helmsman. “We have to see the tone and mood of the legislators. We shall weigh all the factors and decisions will be taken by the central leadership in accordance with the outcome of the legislature party meeting,” the BJP functionary said.

READ ALSO: The importance of being BS Yediyurappa

The decision to effect the leadership change was taken so that the assembly polls in 2023 could be contested under the leadership of the next chief minister.

Although there was factional fighting for quite some time with some of the state leaders being vocal against the continuation of Yediyurappa, BJP sources said the state government was doing well and the party had won several bypolls.

READ ALSO: BS Yediyurappa: CM for 4 terms, but total tenure just over 5 years

However, there was an issue of perception as to why Yediyurappa was continuing despite being 78 years of age. Several leaders, including Kalraj Mishra, Najma Hepatulla, had to quit the Union ministry once they attained 75 years of age.

Although he took over in 2019 at the age of 76, the party had no option with Yediyurappa being the tallest leader of the Lingayats, the largest community in the state, whose support played the most important role in making BJP the single- largest party in the 2018 assembly polls.

As Yediyurappa continues to hold the grip on the Lingayat community, the party brass will keep him in good humour and is likely to assign his younger son Vijayendra some key responsibility in the state. A known Yediyurappa loyalist, Shobha Karndlaje (Chikamagaluru-Udupi) was recently given a berth in the Union council of ministers, as the move was seen as precursor to the Lingayat veteran’s exit.

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