A day after the resignation of B.S. Yediyurappa as chief minister, BJP national general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Arun Singh praised the the former's work and long years of experience in the organisation and government.
"Yediyurappa ji has done wonderful work as the chief minister and he has worked for people from every region and caste. He has long experience in the party organisation as well as in administration. The party has benefited from his experience and guidance till now, and will continue to do so in future," said Singh who arrived in Bengaluru along with state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel on Tuesday.
Singh, along with two central observers appointed by the Central Parliamentary Board—Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and G. Kishan Reddy—will be overseeing the process of electing the next chief minister at the BJP legislature party meeting to be held at Capitol Hotel in Bengaluru in the evening.
Singh added that the next chief minister would be chosen at the legislature party meeting based on the directions of the Central Parliamentary Board.
Meanwhile, the chief ministerial aspirants are treading with caution as the party high command has maintained high level of secrecy on the deliberations over the CM probables. However, it is clear that the leadership is keen on picking a leader who has a good rapport with Yediyurappa, the legislators and the cadres.
On Tuesday morning, Yediyurappa was in a relaxed mood and went about his routine morning walk, followed by feeding and petting the cows in his backyard. A stream of visitors kept flowing into 'Cauvery', the official residence of the chief minister. However, Yediyurappa's meeting with former minister Murugesh Nirani, one of the top contenders for the CM's post evoked curiosity.
"Yediyurappa is our leader and has always treated us like his own children. He is a secular leader. Yesterday, when I heard his speech, I was moved to tears. But his resignation was inevitable as the party ideology bars people above 75 years from holding any post to pave the way for new leadership. Yediyurappa ji has expressed gratitude to the party for allowing him to be the CM for two years and resigned at his own will. So, today the process of electing the new leader has begun," said Nirani.
When asked if he was in the race for the top post, Nirani said, "I have never lobbied for power. All 120 legislators are equally capable of emerging as the leader. Our central and state leaders will decide on the right candidate. Whoever is chosen to lead the government will work under the guidance of Yediyurappa. Our party members, from gram panchayat to Parliament, will abide by the party decision," said Nirani.
In reply to a question whether the next chief minister too would be a Lingayat, Nirani, who belongs to Panchamasali Lingayat community said, "All communities will have the same demand. The party high command will take a call, weighing all options. We will extend our cooperation to the next chief minister too. Our focus will be to win the next elections with absolute majority."
Former revenue minister R. Ashok reiterated that the party high command's decision would be final. "It is true there are a lot of CM contenders. There will be many factors under consideration while picking the next CM. However, one can prove to be a good leader when he gets the opportunity," said Ashok, who added that the BJP was a party for all communities. "The party high command would choose a good leader and not bother if he is a Lingayat or a non-Lingayat leader.”