Karnataka BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel on Saturday asserted that there were no talks at any level about replacing Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa at this juncture.
Speaking to reporters in Mangaluru, Kateel asserted that he was repeatedly saying that Yediyurappa will not be replaced until the Assembly term ends. "There is no such talk until now about this topic at any levels," he retorted in response to a question.
Kateel questioned the media persons: "Who has raised the issue of leadership change? Who has questioned it? Has our national president or national office bearers or core committee members or our legislators have spoken in this regard?"
How rumours started and got squashed?
Even though, several state leaders in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vocally and repeatedly rejected speculations about replacing Yediyurappa, on rare occasions, some within the party like senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal have talked about his replacement openly.
IBTimes confirmed that there were some internal talks within the political realm about Yediyurappa stepping down from his CM post and home minister Basavaraj Bommai to be next CM. But the party's stand is clear now and those rumours are just that.
Earlier, scotching the rumours about leadership change in Karnataka, three prominent BJP leaders, including one of the Deputy Chief Ministers, Laxman Savadi, said on Saturday that incumbent Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa will remain the CM till the end of his term.
Of late, rumours are doing the rounds that the party's central leaders are planning to replace Yediyurappa by this year-end as he is already aged 77 years which is in violation of BJP's own unwritten law of retirement for its leaders. By the time the Assembly term ends in 2023, he will be 80.
Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashjwath Narayana and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K.S. Eshwarappa too rejected the media reports about the possible leadership change, stating separately that Yediyurappa will complete his term in office.
Like several BJP top leaders in the state, Savadi, Narayana and Eshwarappa are touring districts allocated to them to monitor the 'Grama Swarajya', an election campaign designed by the party to win the forthcoming local body polls in the state.
Speaking to reporters in Chitradurga district, Savadi said that it is futile even to discuss on a public forum whether their party leader will be changed. "Yediyurappa has got assurance from none other than our party high command that he will be the CM until his term ends (for the next two-and-a-half years)," he said.
Responding to a question, Savadi said that he did not skip the cabinet meeting intentionally. "Our community (Veerashaiva-Laingayts) has been demanding for reservation for long. It is not a new demand per se. The government will discuss the issue and take a decision soon," he said.
While speaking to reporters in Mangaluru, Narayana said that reports about replacing Yediyurappa are far from true. "There is not even an iota of truth in these reports," he said.
Eshwarappa asked the media persons why should Yediyurappa be replaced. "Who told you this," he asked.
When reporters drew his attention towards Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah's remarks, Eshwarappa said, "Just because he is saying, will our party change our leader just like that?"
(With inputs from IANS)