BENGALURU: A day after Karnataka Tourism Minister, C.P. Yogeshwara’s outbursts, several top ranking leaders including BJP state President, Nalin Kumar Kateel on Friday strongly rallied behind Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, saying those unwilling to stay under party discipline are “free to leave”.
On Friday, Yediyurappa received strong support from none other than Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister, K.S. Eshwarappa, who told reporters in Shivamogga that if Yogeshwara is upset with the party, then he should quit the cabinet and leave the party.
“At this juncture, the state government needs to focus on helping people in rural areas to battle against the dreaded virus that is wreaking havoc. It is time for everyone in the ruling party to come together to fight against this pandemic,” he said.
Incidentally, in early April, Eshwarappa himself had raised questions about the style of function of Yediyurappa by writing a detailed letter to Governor Vajubhai Vala.
Responding to questions on the issue, Kateel clarified that there is no question of a leadership change at this juncture. “We have said this many times. BJP is committed to give full term to Yediyurappa. Yediyurappa is our leader. Lets have no doubt over this issue,” he said.
The BJP state chief said that he would certainly seek explanation from Yogeshwara, who had said that “there is a government of three parties in the state instead of BJP’s”.
In Chikkamagaluru, BJP General Secretary, C.T. Ravi told reporters that it was not the right time for anyone to make such comments on any Chief Minister in the country. “We have been battling the invisible enemy for more than a year and still we have not yet achieved desired results to contain it. In such a scenario, none should say this holds good for anyone who is trying to gain mileage out of making such comments,” he said.
Yediyurappa supporters in the party came down heavily on Yogeshwara and termed his statements against the CM as an “act of betrayal”. “Yogeshwara lost out to JD-S heavyweight and former Chief Minister, H.D. Kumaraswamy in Channapatna in 2018… despite his defeat, he was appointed as MLC and made minister.. was that an act of three party arrangement?,” Yediyurappa’s political secretary, M. P. Renukacharya asked mockingly.
BJP MLC Ayanur Manjunath said that Yogeshwara was a migrant to the party and he could not win elections on his own. “What moral right does he possess to speak about a change in leadership? If he has no confidence in the Chief Minister, he should quit the cabinet. And I demand Chief Minister Yediyurappa to remove him from the cabinet,” he said.
BJP’s youngest MLA Preetham Gowda also said that party workers will not give importance to Yogeshwara’s comments as he has no role in building the party.