An embattled Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Sunday said he was ready to quit office if the BJP high command wanted him to go.
“I will resign if the party high command directs me to do so. Till then, I will continue as chief minister and work for the state’s development,” Yediyurappa told reporters here in Kannada at an event outside the state secretariat.
Asserting that he would remain in office as long as the party high command had trust in him, the chief minister said he would not react to rumblings in the party over his leadership but will work for the state day and night.
“I don’t want to react to such (dissident) activities. As long as the high command has trust in me, I will continue as chief minister,” Yediyurappa reiterated after paying floral tributes to the portrait of former state chief minister D. Devaraj Urs on his 39th death anniversary.
Urs (1915-82) was the eighth chief minister of the southern state from 1972-80 for two terms of the Congress.
Noting that the party had provided him an opportunity to serve the state for the fourth time, Yediyurappa said as he was busy in fighting Covid pandemic, he was not concerned over activities or statements of some party members against him.
Admitting that there was no lack of alternate leaders in the party’s state unit, Yediyurappa said he does not agree with the view that there were no leaders in the party other than him.
“I don’t agree with those who say there are no alternate leaders. There is no dearth of leaders in our party at the state or national level,” he quipped, reacting to opposition Congress leader Siddaramaiah’s remark that the BJP was forced to keep Yediyurappa in office for want of an alternate leader to replace him.
In a related development, party’s national general secretary and former state minister C.T. Ravi said Yediyurappa would continue in the post and there was no question of replacing him.
“Yediyurappa was unanimously elected as the legislative party leader and became the chief minister. Nobody can destabilise the BJP government in the state,” Ravi told reporters in New Delhi on Sunday after the party’s national meeting.
Yediyurappa,78, became chief minister for the fourth time on July 26, 2019 after the 14-month-old Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S)-Congress coalition government fell when its chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy resigned after losing the confidence vote in the state legislative assembly on July 23, 2019.
Though Yediuyrappa took oath as chief minister for the third time on May 17, 2018, he resigned three days later on May 19, as the BJP was 8 seats short of simple majority (113) in the 225-member lower house.