Speculations rife in Karnataka over leadership change

South India

The meeting of the cabinet is scheduled at Vidhan Soudha at 10.30 am and that of the MPs at the home office of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa at 4.30 pm 

Two important meetings of cabinet ministers and party MPs convened by Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa in Bengaluru on Friday, November 27, has sparked speculations about a change of guard in the state government.  

According to news agency PTI, the cabinet meeting is slated for 10.30 am at the 'Vidhana Soudha' and that of party MPs at his home office at 4 pm. The meeting comes amid rumours in some cirlces in recent times that the BJP national leadership is weighing the option of leadership change considering the age of Yediyurappa, who is 77.

It gained credence from his failure to get a final nod from the national leadership for expanding his cabinet, which currently has seven vacant births. Though Yediyurappa had earlier claimed that he had got the go ahead for the expansion of his cabinet after his visit to Delhi last month, it never materialised.

During the campaign for two Assembly seats earlier this month, the chief minister said that he will go to Delhi immediately after the announcement of the poll results and get the approval for filling the vacant positions in the cabinet. He has been mum on the matter even a fortnight after the announcement of the results.

The state BJP has repeatedly rejected such speculations about a leadership, but some within the party like senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal have openly talked about his replacement. Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan on Thursday said Yediyurappa will continue in his post.

"...we are saying repeatedly that there is no leadership change in Karnataka, Yediyurappa will continue as Chief Minister. There will be no change, he (Yediyurappa) is our leader and he will continue," Narayan was quoted by PTI as saying.

The Chief Ministers political secretary M P Renukacharya hit out at the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Siddaramaiah, who had claimed the BJP will change the Chief Minister citing "information from sources in Delhi".

The meeting with MPs has come in the backdrop of, Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha member V Srinivas Prasad on Wednesday making no secret of his "disenchantment" with the Chief Minister, by stating that Yediyurappa "doesn't need us anymore".

Confirming about the MPs meeting on Friday, Gulbarga Lok Sabha member Umesh Jadhav said, "I have received a whatsapp message and a phone call from the CM's office informing about the MPs meeting at 4pm tomorrow.

"Subject has not been specified; it may be about development and issues pertaining to the state that are pending before the Centre," he said.

The Chief Minister making a flurry of political appointments to various statutory bodies in the state in the last two days has also fuelled speculation (with inputs from PTI)

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