Bengaluru: With speculations rife that some attempts were on within the ruling BJP to replace him, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday said controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and protecting the interests of the people were his only priorities now. In a veiled attack on those trying to exert pressure for unseating him, he said those who had gone to Delhi have been sent back with answers as he asserted that addressing the COVID situation should be the priority of all Ministers and legislators.
”The only thing before me is COVID, controlling it and protecting the interest of the people is my priority. If some has gone somewhere (referring to some legislators going to Delhi to meet high command), they have been given the right answers (by the high command) and sent back,” Yediyurappa said. Speaking to reporters here, he said when people are in distress and deaths are increasing due to COVID, controlling it together should be the priority of legislators, Ministers and everyone.
”We should focus towards it (controlling COVID), there is no other matter in front of me, facing COVID is my first priority,” he added. Asked whether he will call a legislature party meeting, the Chief Minister merely said, ”there is no need to discuss it, with you (media).” Even as the state is battling the second wave of COVID-19, speculations were rife on Wednesday that some efforts were on within the ruling BJP for replacing Yediyurappa.
Some Ministers and MLAs, for the first time, have openly admitted to such moves to exert pressure to unseat the Karnataka BJP strongman. Several legislators considered close to the Chief Minister have rallied around him, questioning the need for such a change and asserted that the 78-year old veteran will complete the term and will even lead the party during the next assembly polls two years away.
Citing certain decisions taken by the government, its handling of the COVID crisis, alleged instances of corruption, a few legislators are said to be pushing for convening a legislature party meeting after June 7, the last day of the lockdown. According to reports, the BJP’s central leadership has refused to meet Tourism Minister C P Yogeeshwara and Hubballi-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad, who were said to be camping in Delhi seeking appointment to express the feelings of some legislators against Yediyurappa’s style of functioning and request them to rein in the Chief Minister.
They were even reportedly conveyed not to come to Delhi on this issue. There were reports that some more legislators were likely to join them in Delhi and it had created a flutter in BJP circles.
Earlier also there has been intense speculation in some quarters that the BJP high command is mulling leadership change in Karnataka in the days to come considering Yediyurappa’s advancing age. Though the BJP had officially rejected outright such speculation in the past, it refuses to die down, with some within the party like senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal giving credence to it with his statements, setting repeated deadlines for Yediyurappa’s exit..
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