"Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is our leader and he will complete his three year term," his deputy Laxman Savadi, whose visit to New Delhi as the BJP government in Karnataka completed one year in office sparked speculation about leadership change, said on Wednesday.
As some social media posts, allegedly by his supporters, projecting him as the next Chief Minister, led to a controversy, Savadi clarified that he was on an official visit.
"Yediyurappa is our leader for all of us, with confidence I'm saying that for the next three years Yediyurappa will be the Chief Minister of our state," he said.
Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, he said he has had no discussions regarding any political developments during his meeting with national leaders including party national President J P Nadda.
"..our government has the tenure of three more years, until the completion of three years, Yediyurappa will be the Chief Minister," he added.
Though several senior BJP leaders have clarified that Yediyurappa will be the Chief Minister for the complete term, speculations keep cropping up about leadership change.
According to some reports, ahead of the government formation after the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition in July last year, the BJP leadership had communicated to the 78-year-old Lingayat strongman that he may have to make way after one year, considering his age and in order to have a succession plan in place.
Reports have claimed that in exchange Yediyurappa may get a gubernatorial position and a key post for his younger son B Y Vijayendra.
Some within the party see Yediyurappa's recent move to appoint 20-odd party legislators to boards and corporations as an attempt to mollify MLAs who are upset with him.
However, this move to accommodate them led to some openly voicing their displeasure, seeing it as an end to their ministerial aspirations.
Yediyurappa is looking to expand his cabinet in August, and it is no secret that there are too many aspirants for the berths.
While several of the old guard are waiting for a chance to be inducted into the Ministry, those who defected from the Congress and JD(S) like A H Vishwanath, R Shankar and MTB Nagaraj, who are now BJP MLCs, are also aspiring for slots.
"May be sensing something Yediyurappa might have made appointments to boards and corporations, to keep MLAs happy, as there are also chances of him going for cabinet expansion soon," a party functionary said.
Several MLAs have been miffed with Yediyurappa for some time now over not making it to cabinet, developmental issues in their constituency, his style of functioning and alleged growing influence of his younger son B Y Vijayendra, and have held separate meetings to air their grievances.
Savadi, who was the high command's choice to the Deputy Chief Minister post, visiting Delhi and meeting party leaders there, have again led to tongues wagging about leadership change.
His appointment as DCM had surprised many in the state BJP as he was neither MLA or nor an MLC at the time.
The move was seen by some as attempt by the high command to put succession plan in place to Yediyurappa, as Savadi too belongs to Lingayat community, which the party counts as its strong support base.
However, another senior party functionary said Savadi might have gone to Delhi to save himself from being axed during the next cabinet expansion or rejig.
Brushing aside the speculation that Savadi will be made the next CM, this party leader said, "at this point with pandemic at its peak in the state, change in leadership is unlikely according to me; also is there a plan B.. who is next strong leader in state BJP after Yediyurappa who can take all factions together and get the Lingayat backing."
Savadi too clarified that he had not come to Delhi with any political motive, and his meeting with Governor Vajubhai Vala recently was to check the latter's health.
Stating that he has met Union Minister Prakash Javadekar and Nitin Gadkari on official reasons and regarding development work, he said he has also met BJP national President Nadda and gave him sweets, on government completing one year in office.
Amid all this, there are also reports that a section of party legislators from north Karnataka is pushing Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi's (a Brahmin) name to succeed Yediyurappa.
Meanwhile, according to party sources, several ministers who fear axing if there is a cabinet rejig, are planning to go to Delhi to ensure that they continue in the cabinet.