Bengaluru: Breaking his silence over the frequent news stories about a possible change of leadership in the state, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Thursday said he was not bothered about those who are making such attempts to dislodge him as he was too preoccupied with tackling the Covid situation in the state.
Yediyurappa’s statement assumes significance after speculation was rife in the media for the last two days after Karnataka Tourism Minister C.P. Yogeshwara and Hubli-Dharwad (West) MLA Arvind Bellad had gone to Delhi reportedly to lobby for Yediyurappa’s removal.
After their return on Thursday, both leaders stated that their visit was for personal reasons and not to lobby for a change of leadership.
After putting garlands on Jawaharlal Nehru’s statue in the Vidhana Soudha here to commemorate his 57th death anniversary, Yediyurappa told reporters that at present his priority is how to control the rising Covid infections in the rural areas.
“My priority is to focus on the welfare of the people. No other issues are before me. Tackling the pandemic is the primary task… not focused on anything else,” he said.
The Chief Minister stressed that all must come together in a united manner to tackle this deadly virus which has been affecting mankind for the last one year. “This dreaded virus is spreading in the state’s rural parts, therefore, I appeal to ministers, MLAs to focus single-mindedly to tackle this pandemic in their region first,” he said.
Answering a question, Yediyurappa said that the BJP central leaders know how to deal with any such attempts, if at all they are made. “This time, I think whoever went to Delhi and returned, must have gotten their answers,” Yediyurappa remarked.
Replying to another question on whether some leaders from his party were going to Delhi allegedly to seek a change of leadership, he retorted that if someone went somewhere, you (Media) should also know that they were given the right answer and sent back.
“So, the only thing now is for us to work together to face Covid at a time when people are suffering and deaths are rising. Legislators and ministers should focus on containing the pandemic. There’s no other subject in front of me,” he said.
Yediyurappa is arguably the BJP’s tallest leader in Karnataka. But the Lingayat strongman is ageing, and at 78, is way past the BJP’s unwritten 75-year-limit rule for leaders to hold any decision making positions in the party or in the government.
Ever since Yediyurappa came to power in mid 2019, his younger son, B.Y. Vijayendra’s meteoric rise within the party has resulted in disgruntlement among the party leaders. Several have been openly accusing that Vijayendra’s interference had been the biggest bone of contention between Yediyurappa and his detractors within the party.