Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will stay in the top post at least till the next assembly election, which is less than a year away, sources in the Delhi BJP have confirmed amid much speculation on the matter in the state. There has been a buzz about a change by August 15, but sources in Delhi ruled out such a possibility.
Confirming that the party is “not happy with Bommai,” a senior BJP leader in Delhi said, “One must remember that Mr Bommai was selected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after consulting with BS Yediyurappa and the RSS (BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)”.
“So definitely they will not change him now, and even if the high command does that, they will be risking their image just ahead of elections,” he added.
The leadership change rumours started after Union home minister Amit Shah met Mr Bommai and is said to have taken up the issue of alleged law and order failure in the state.
Basanagouda Patil, the MLA from Bijapur city assembly constituency who predicted that Mr Yeddiyurappa will be replaced, has been vocal this time too. Another state BJP leader, B Suresh Gowda a former MLA, added to fuel to the fire.
Mr Yeddiyurappa has staunchly rebuffed the rumours. “There is no question of changing the Chief Minister when state elections are just seven-eight months away. The rumours on Chief Minister change must stop now,” he told reporters.
The confusion has greatly cheered the opposition Congress, which has called Mr Bommai a “puppet Chief Minister”.
“Basavaraj Bommai is being controlled by the high command and he has not been allowed to work freely. That is hampering the development of the state. The original BJP leaders are not happy with Mr Bommai. They feel that a newcomer to the party has been made the Chief Minister,” said working president of Karnataka congress Saleem Ahmed.
Mr Bommai, who was supposed to visit Delhi last week, has tested positive for Covid. Sources said once he recovers, a cabinet expansion is expected.