BS Yediyurappa, battling dissent in Karnataka, has been pronounced as “lacking spirit or courage” to continue as Chief Minister in the latest attack from a party colleague. BJP leader H Vishwanath has shared his damning feedback with Karnataka in-charge Arun Singh, who is meeting with MLAs and others to assess the extent of the crisis in the state unit.
H Vishwanath, a member of the state legislative council (MLC), has made several serious allegations against Mr Yediyurappa, 78. “We respect the leadership and contribution of Yediyurappaji. But now he has not got that spirit, that strength to run the government because of the age and health factor,” he said.
“All ministers are unhappy with the Yediyurappa government,” he said after his meeting with Arun Singh.
“(Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji is constantly telling us dynastic rule is dangerous. What is going on in Karnataka is the same thing. The Karnataka BJP has forgotten Modiji. I told him public opinion about the government is becoming negative.”
Mr Vishwanath also alleged “continuous interference” by the Yediyurappa family in the state government and administration. “In all the departments, his son’s interference is more,” he remarked.
The BJP leader also alleged that land was leased to private companies at a throwaway price and hit out at the Chief Minister over irrigation projects worth Rs 20,000 crore being sanctioned without board meetings.
Mr Vishwanath was among the 18 MLAs whose defection to the BJP led to the collapse of the Janata Dal Secular-Congress government and helped the BJP and Mr Yediyurappa take power in 2019.
Mr Vishwanath, a former JDS MLA, had revolted against then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswami and his father and party chief HD Deve Gowda to join the BJP. But he lost the by-election to the seat he vacated and lost out on a ministry unlike comrades who were rewarded for their role in bringing the BJP to power.
Arun Singh’s chats with party leaders come at a time Mr Yediyurappa is facing increasingly pungent attacks from his party colleagues. Several MLAs have been openly critical of their own Chief Minister.
Among them is Mr Yediyurappa’s one-time close aide KS Eshwarappa. The Rural Development Minister, who is from Shivamogga district like Mr Yediyurappa, had even written to the Governor Vajubhai Vala alleging interference in his portfolios by the Chief Minister. The five-page letter accused Mr Yediyurappa of authoritarianism and serious lapses.
Last year, senior BJP legislator Basanagouda Patil Yatnal had said Mr Yediyurappa will not remain Chief Minister for long, a prediction that was rubbished by the BJP’s state unit.
So far, the BJP leadership has backed Mr Yediyurappa, a powerful Lingayat leader who remains their first Chief Minister in the south and one of their most powerful faces in Karnataka.