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Kateel may be on way out as Karnataka BJP chief, CT Ravi likely to replace him

Party bosses are looking at leaders with the right caste status, and rumours are thick that there could be a change in the organisational setup ahead of the ZP/TP polls. 

Published: 24th December 2021 05:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th December 2021 05:53 AM   |  A+A-

CT Ravi

BJP leader CT Ravi (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The BJP high command, despite focusing on elections to five states, including Uttar Pradesh, is keeping a close watch on the shifting scenario in Karnataka, leading to a buzz of a change in leadership. There are also visible signs of anti-incumbency which could be a big factor in the 2023 assembly polls, and since Karnataka has been the party’s gateway to the South, the BJP is not likely to leave anything to chance. Party bosses are looking at leaders with the right caste status, and rumours are thick that there could be a change in the organisational setup ahead of the ZP/TP polls. 

State BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel’s performance is not rated very high, ever since he assumed office in August 2019, and has become a matter of concern, sources said. He has not been as visibly aggressive as he was in the past, and the BJP think-tank is reportedly having second thoughts about allowing him to complete his three-year term, which concludes in August 2022. 

Given the fact that KPCC president D K Shivakumar’s performance graph is on the rise, especially in the Vokkaliga heartland where the JDS is appearing to lose ground and BJP is failing to cash in, the saffron party is looking to bring in a Vokkaliga leader as party president. According to sources, Chikkamagaluru MLA and BJP national general secretary CT Ravi is the frontrunner.

“Kateel is BJP national general secretary B L Santhosh’s man, and if a change takes place, it will be his choice. Ravi, who is in the good books of Santhosh, would be the natural choice,” remarked a BJP Vokkaliga leader. Union minister Bhupendar Yadav, a confidant of PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, is also likely to have a say, sources said.

Since the Chief Minister is likely to remain from the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, appointing a leader from any other dominant caste -- Vokkaliga, Backward Class or even Dalit -- as party president makes good political sense, observed another leader. Ravi’s recent attack on Vokkaliga compatriot D K Shivakumar is an indication that he is ready to take on rival parties, both on issues and on a personal level.

Since the opposition is expected to make the Anti-Conversion bill, Anti-Cow Slaughter law, National Education Policy implementation, and even the Bitcoin scam as a poll plank, Ravi fits in the party’s scheme of things. The names of Aravind Limbavali and Sunil Kumar Karkala, from SC and backward communities, are also doing the rounds, but BJP may not appoint them as Congress leader Siddaramaiah has managed to keep these communities’ votes intact.



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