Union minister Pralhad Joshi on Monday dismissed suggestions that the Bharatiya Janata Party was scouting for Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa’s replacement. The Union minister, who is seen as a potential contender for the race for the chief minister’s chair, insisted that there were no plans for a change of leadership in the state government and Yediyurappa had been doing a fine job.
Joshi is the second BJP leader in 24 hours to deliver a sharp rebuttal to a campaign within the state BJP that has targeted the chief minister. ‘Yediyurappa is performing well,” Pralhad Joshi told reporters.
Joshi echoed Jagadish Shettar, a minister in Yediyurappa cabinet handling large and medium industries. Shettar, also a potential contender, brushed aside former Union minister and senior BJP lawmaker Basavraj Patil Yatnal’s statement that prophesied a leadership change in the state.
“That is his personal view and the party as well as state BJP president have already refuted the same,” Shettar said.
Union minister Pralhad Joshi went a step further in defence of Yediyurappa who has lately been the target of Congress barbs over his government’s handling of floods in the state and the disbursement of compensation to farmers. Joshi underscored that the BJP government had been able to provide more funds to help farmers, crediting the BJP-led national coalition for sparing more money for Karnataka farmers than the previous Congress-led UPA government.
Congress leaders including leader of opposition in assembly Siddaramiah as well as Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar had earlier accused the state government of failing to get adequate funds for flood relief though people voted the BJP on 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka.
Siddaramiah has demanded a special session of the assembly to discuss the destruction caused due to floods for the third successive year. The legislative assembly’s winter session was earlier truncated due to Covid-19 pandemic-related fears.
Joshi mounted a counterattack on the Congress, saying its leaders had come to believe that only it was meant to rule. “Whenever there is a crisis within Congress, they try to project it as a crisis for the country and the state. The Congress does not believe in democracy. There is a fight in Congress for the CM’s post (in Karnataka) when the post is not even vacant,” he said.