Ruling out leadership change, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday asserted he will remain in the post for the remaining over two year period and complete the term, and there was no confusion regarding this within the ruling BJP. Suggesting that the last one year had been like a "trial by fire" for his administration with natural disasters and COVID pandemic, he said his government's desire was to take Karnataka to the first place on the development map of the country, as he also referred to financial constraints faced by the state.
"In the last one-and-half years of my administration even for a day I did not bother about it, I was focused on my work and development. These things have in no way impacted," Yediyurappa said in response to a question on talks about leadership change and its impact on administration. Speaking to reporters here, he said, after BJP General Secretary in-charge of the state Arun Singh made it clear that there are no issues for the next two-and-half years and Yediyurappa will continue as Chief Minister, such questions do not arise at all.
"There is no confusion among our ministers or legislators, also people. If there is confusion, it is among media friends. If you cooperate everything will be fine," he said. There has been intense speculation in some quarters that the BJP high command is mulling leadership change in Karnataka in the days to come considering Yediyurappa's age (77 years).
Though the state BJP has rejected outright such speculation, it refuses to die down, with some within the party like senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal giving credence to it with their statements. Asked about BJP legislators making open statements and writing letters expressing disgruntlement, Yediyurappa said out of so many legislators one or two of them might have given certain statements.
"..to address their concerns, I will be holding a division wise meeting with all our legislators," he said. Referring to the impact of COVID on the state and its economy, the Chief Minister, who also handles the finance portfolio said, "we may face a fiscal setback of Rs 25,000 to 30,000 crore and we may have to face this problem in the next budget as well." Despite this, efforts will be on placing emphasis on development of the state including the welfare of farmers, farm labourers, SC/ST community and backward communities, among others, he said.
Noticing that his desire and dream was to take Karnataka to the first place in the development map of the country, Yediyurappa said all his cabinet collogues were collectively working towards achieving the goal. "It was a kind of trial by fire with drought, floods, COVID and all of this led to fiscal setback, but despite all this all efforts are on to fulfill promises made in the budget and I'm confident we will be successful in this," he said.
Stating that BJP is strengthening its base across the country including Karnataka, the Chief Minister claimed in the recent Gram Panchayat polls, for which counting took place on Wednesday, more than 60 per cent of BJP candidates won and created history. According to information, of 5,728 Gram Panchayats, BJP backed candidates have won in majority in around 3,800 panchayats, he said, as he gave credit to collective leadership for the achievement, while acknowledging efforts of district in-charge ministers, MLAs and party workers.
Though the Gram Panchayat polls don't take place on party symbols, all political parties had put in efforts to ensure that the candidate supported by them wins, so as to have their hold on grassroot level politics, which may prove advantageous for them in taluk or zilla panchayat and even assembly polls whenever it happens. Also citing BJP winning 12 out of 15 assembly seats that went for bypolls in December 2019 and the win in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Sira segments earlier this year, Yediyurappa said these results show that the party has made inroads to the stronghold of opposition parties.
Highlighting his government's management of COVID crisis while also supporting distressed communities, he said, it also ensured that development works continued despite the pandemic. "Our government has topped in attracting FDI even during COVID pandemic. As many as 95 proposals worth Rs 1.54 lakh crore have been received," he said.