I must accept high command’s decision: Yediyurappa tells pontiffs amid speculation of change in leadership

'When we pressed, Yediyurappa refused to divulge details'
Last Updated : 20 July 2021, 10:07 IST

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Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is said to have told a delegation of pontiffs that he will have to accept the decision taken by the BJP central leadership, firming up speculation that a change of leadership is a real possibility.

“All that Yediyurappa said was that he’ll have to accept the [BJP] high command’s decision. He said he won’t say more,” Balehosur Dingaleshwar Swamy, who led the delegation, told reporters after meeting Yediyurappa. “When we pressed, Yediyurappa refused to divulge details.”

More than two dozen saffron-clad pontiffs met Yediyurappa to express their support amid talks that the aging Lingayat leader was on his way out.

The Veerashaiva-Lingayat community is estimated to form about 16 per cent of Karnataka’s population and is considered to be the BJP’s core support base. Yediyurappa belongs to this community.

“Yediyurappa is not the CM because he’s a Lingayat. He’s the CM because he’s a good leader. It’s not a question of Lingayat. It’s about his leadership, his capability,” the Dingaleshwar seer said. “In another couple of days, we will mobilise 500 seers for a meeting where we will take a stand. If the high command isn’t interested in keeping the BJP in power, they can change Yediyurappa. They will face the consequences,” he warned.

Mutts have always enjoyed political patronage, blurring the lines between their relationship at times. And, Yediyurappa is known to have provided generous grants to mutts and religious institutions during his previous term as chief minister, winning him brownie points.

Earlier in the day, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharana from the Murugha Mutt in Chitradurga said the BJP should not replace Yediyurappa as the CM.

“At this stage, a change in leadership is not justifiable,” the Murugha seer said in a statement. “Yediyurappa is someone who walked a lonely road, built up the party and earned praise for forming a government in South India,” he said.

“Every election has been fought under his leadership and he has toiled much for the party. He has contributed much to the state. The feeling is strong that neglecting such a brilliant, experienced person will cause huge damage going forward. So, it is appropriate to treat him with respect,” the seer said.

On Monday, Congress’ Lingayat leaders Shamanur Shivashankarappa and MB Patil also expressed support to Yediyurappa amid talks of his exit.

Published 20 July 2021, 10:07 IST

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