‘Yediyurappa’s Son is De Facto CM’: Trouble Brews in Karnataka BJP
The controversial letter emerged around the same time when 22 BJP MLAs held a meeting in Bengaluru.
An unsigned letter demanding the removal of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has kicked off speculations of differences in the state unit of the BJP. The letter says Yediyurappa is ageing and he needs to move to a ‘Margadarshak’ or mentor’s role in the party or as a governor.
However, one of the strongest objections raised in the letter was against Yediyurappa’s son Vijayendra’s increasing influence in the affairs of the government. The letter even calls him a de facto CM. This comes while there are speculations of Vijayendra taking over mantle from his father.
The controversial letter emerged around the same time when 22 BJP MLAs held a meeting at former Karnataka chief minister Jagadish Shettar’s residence. The meeting was allegedly attended by MLAs who were not happy with the recent developments in Karnataka politics, including the cabinet expansion.
What Does the Letter Say?
The four-page letter written by “ a Yediyurappa loyalist” lists reasons why he should be replaced as the chief minister. The letter says they (loyalists) made him chief minister despite the high command not liking it and it was painful to see how owing to age-related issues, he had become “weak, helpless, and inactive”.
The letter states:
“Yediyurappa has neither not allowed any other leader from his (Lingayat) community to grow within the party, nor will he allow it in future as he is basically jealous. It is painful to see someone at this age struggle to run the administration. But considering his age and experience, he must be honoured with a governor’s post somewhere.”
Letter Targets CM’s Son
While the subject of the letter of the letter was replacing Yediyurappa, the harsh tone against his son’s influence in the party has become the topic of discussion within the BJP.
The letter says his family members were interfering in administration and Yediyurappa has been asking legislators and other party leaders to meet his son Vijayendra over administrative issues.
“Vijayendra is the de facto CM, super CM. Vijayendra has overseen the appointment of officials in every ministry. He is running the administration instead of his father,” the letter alleged.
Vijayendra played a key role In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, winning the saffron party seats in Old Mysore Region which was considered the bastion of JD(S) and Congress. Soon after this electoral victory there were talks of Vijayendra gaining prominence in the party and filling his father’s shoes soon.
At present, Yediyurappa is the undisputed leader of the Lingayat community, which constitutes the largest vote bank in the state. This community has played a crucial role in giving the BJP power in the state and maintaining Yediyurappa’s political relevance. Since there are no other prominent Lingayat leaders in the party with a mass appeal, Vijayendra hopes to take over this baton from his father.
Party Denies Rift
However, the BJP has downplayed the entire controversy claiming there were no rifts in the party. "The unsigned letter in Kannada circulating in the social media is bogus, as it was fabricated in the name of Santosh, a private secretary to Yediyurappa. No revolt is brewing against the chief minister," party spokesperson G. Madhusudhana said.
He also defended Vijayendra’s involvement in governance saying: "As Yediyurappa is 76 years old and ageing, Vijayandra is helping his father in party affairs so that he (the chief minister) could be free to attend to administration," Madhusudhana said.
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