NEW DELHI: Caught between Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and BJP national general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh, the BJP government in Karnataka appears to be headed into a limbo over the party’s leadership succession plan in the state. While the chief minister sought to gauge the mood of the party top brass in the national capital, he repeatedly fended off speculation about his resignation.
At 76, Yediyurappa had brought the BJP back to power in Karnataka in 2019, becoming an exception in the party to breach the undeclared age ceiling of 75 to hold an office. Ever since, he’s been busy countering speculation, the latest round being during his two-day stay in the national capital when he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the party chief J P Nadda.
Emerging from Shah’s residence, the CM stated that he has been asked to work hard and help the party win the next elections in the state. The CM had his son B Y Vijayendra for company, fuelling speculation that he lobbied for passing the baton within the family, while the BJP is known to have, of late, grown averse to the idea of promoting dynasties within the party.
The emergence of Santhosh, who succeeded Ram Lal as the general secretary (organization), has seemingly added to the challenges for the CM. Party insiders note that Santhosh wants to promote alternative leadership, hand-picking C T Ravi, a Vokkaliga, as national general secretary of the party, besides favouring other leaders.
While the BJP top brass takes its time to decide on the leadership change, party insiders added that the state government faces the prospect of a lame duck dispensation. With no Lingayat leader in sight to match the status of Yediyurappa, and the bid to promote D V Sadananda Gowda, a Vokkaliga, ending in failure, as he apparently couldn’t rise to the expectations of the PM, the BJP has a daunting task ahead to find a successor to Yediyurappa, and also ensuring that it remains in power in the only big state south of Vindhyas.