Bengaluru, Aug 10 (IANS): The ruling BJP in Karnataka is in damage control mode following rumours of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai being replaced. The BJP which is yet to recover from the wrath of party workers and Hindu activists following the murder of Praveen Kumar Nettare, a BJP Yuva Morcha member, now has the task of clarifying over the leadership issue when assembly elections are just 8 months away.
Sources in the BJP stated that the issue cropped up with the statement of Suresh Gowda, former MLA from Tumakuru constituency. Gowda, known as the blue eyed boy of Union Minister for State Shobha Karandlaje from Karnataka hinted that there could be changes in the leadership before August 15.
He said that the leadership change has been carried out before by the high command even though there is only a short time left for the assembly elections.
Following this, the opposition Congress which has gained momentum after the massive birthday bash of Siddaramaiah organised by the party, hit out at the Karnataka BJP over the leadership change issue.
The Congress on its social media handle stated that Karnataka will see its third CM soon as it had seen in the previous tenure of the BJP government. It said that senior leaders and cabinet members have chosen to be tight-lipped after the visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Bengaluru recently for the same reason.
Sources in the BJP revealed that Bommai does not enjoy the support he once used to. Amit Shah had declared that the assembly elections would be fought under the leadership of Bommai to the chagrin of many CM aspirants.
It is an open secret here that many hardcore Hindutva proponents within the party dislike Bommai and want a change in leadership. However, the high command is treading cautiously over the issue, sources said.
Former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa stated on Wednesday that there are rumours that there will be changes in the CM's post. Such a question does not arise. Basavaraj Bommai will continue as CM for another 8 months, he clarified.
Minister for Revenue R Ashok said that Bommai will be the face of the saffron party going into the assembly elections. "If you (Congress) have the capacity declare the CM candidate before elections," he said.
BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel also backed Basavaraj Bommai and stated that he would be the CM till the end of his tenure and there is no question of a change in leadership.
Sources in the BJP stated that anything can happen as Yediyurappa is fully focused on launching his son B Y Vijayendra. The high command is totally focused on winning the assembly elections on a Hindutva plank.