A trip to Delhi today by Karnataka Chief Minister, BS Yediyurappa, has revived speculation that it will involve discussion of a change of leadership in the state – an issue that has dogged the 78-year-old almost since he was sworn-in for the state’s top job two years ago for his fourth term.
Mr Yediyurappa boarded a special flight with his son Vijayendra and landed in Delhi at around 3:30 pm. He will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 7 pm. This is his first visit to Delhi in almost eight months, his office said.
Recently, the BJP’s state in-charge, Arun Singh, had visited the state and met the ruling party MLAs. He had reiterated that the Chief Minister had the backing of the party leadership and said that Mr Yediyurappa and his government had been doing good work.
But the speculation, fanned by public rumblings against the Chief Minister by BJP MLAs and alleged interference by his son Vijayendra, is not dying down. The tumult has been compounded by no meaningful admonishment for his detractors.
Defying warnings of disciplinary action by the leadership, disgruntled BJP leaders like Vijayapura City MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Tourism Minister CP Yogeshwar and legislative council member AH Vishwanath have mounted attacks on Mr Yediyurappa, embarrassing the party and his government.
Swatting away the buzz surrounding the Delhi visit, Revenue Minister R Ashok said, “Normal process. Nothing is there. There is no leadership change in Karnataka. Yediyurappa will continue. He is visiting Delhi to meet the Prime Minister, Home Minister and party president and other central ministers especially Irrigation Minister. The Cauvery river issue is the major issue. That is why he is visiting Delhi.”
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been in conflict over a planned irrigation project by Karnataka in the Cauvery river at Mekedatu.
The minister also said there were no plans of a cabinet reshuffle in the state in the near future and that the Chief Minister had confirmed this.
Commenting on the dissent against him last month, Mr Yediyurappa had said, “There is no political crisis at all…what is happening is just because one or two people (legislators) are saying something in the media, it is creating misunderstanding…these one or two people speaking against me is not new, they have been doing it since the beginning and it is getting highlighted.”
But he had also said that he will continue as Chief Minister only as long as the BJP central leadership has confidence in him. “The day they tell me to quit, I will. Then, I will involve myself in working for the welfare of the state.”