Yediyurappa to continue as CM, clarifies Savadi

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Bengaluru, July 29 (IANS) Amid speculation and simmering discontent among ‘rebels’, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister LaxmanSavadi on Wednesday said Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa would continue till the remaining tenure of the government, which ends in May 2023.
“No change in leadership. Yediyurappa will continue as chief minister till the term of our government, which is up to May 2023,” Savadi told reporters in New Delhi, where he has been camping on official work since Monday.
Terming reports on an imminent change in leadership as false and speculative, Savadi said vested interests were spreading it in the social media (Whatsapp) after he met Governor VajubhaiVala last week, which was for official work.
“No truth in such reports. I am in Delhi to meet central ministers in connection with my department (transport) work,” asserted Savadi.
Asked reason for skipping the main event held to celebrate the 1-year rule of the BJP government in the city on July 27, Savadi said he had informed the chief minister about his trip to Delhi for meeting the Union ministers and the party’s national president J.P. Nadda.
Savadi is one of the three deputy chief ministers in the southern state along with GovindKarjol and C.N. Anantha Narayan.
Though Savadi lost in the May 2018 assembly elections from Athani in Belagavi district to former Congress legislator Mahesh Kumathalli, he was made a member of the state legislative council to continue in the cabinet.
Ironically, Kumathalli who resigned from his assembly seat in July 2019 and defected to the ruling BJP in November 2019 along with 16 other rebels, was re-elected from Athani in the December 5 assembly by-elections. He has not been given any post yet, while 10 defectors were made ministers in Februrary.
Ruling out change of leadership, party’ senior leader G. Madhusudhana told IANS here that it would be “suicidal” for even to think of replacing Yediyurappa when the state government was grappling with the pandemic.
“The party’s central leadership has appreciated Yediyurappa for managing the Covid crisis in the state to the best of his ability even at the age of 78 years,” asserted Madhusudhana.
As 6 cabinet posts are vacant in the 34-member ministry, newly elected or nominated MLCs like M.T.B. Nagaraj and A.H. Vishwanath are vying along with 8-time rebel MLA UmeshKatti and former minister MurgeshNirani.
State Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi also ruled out change in leadership.
“No talks on change of leadership in the state BJP. Yediyurappa will continue to be the chief minister and lead the party even in the 2023 Assembly elections to retain power,” Jarkiholi told reporters at Belagavi in state’s northwest region on Monday.
The firebrand former Congress rebel defected to the BJP in November 2019 and was re-elected from Gokak in Belagavi district in the December 5 by-elections to 15 assembly seats, caused by resignations of 16 other rebels from Congress and JD-S.

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