BJP shortlists 8, but finding BSY’s successor a tough ask

(This story originally appeared in on July 24, 2021)

BENGALURU: BJP Brass seems to have a difficult task at hand in Karnataka – finding an acceptable successor to the 78-year-old strongman Lingayat and CM BS Yediyurappa if they decide to replace him.

Yediyurappa completed two years in office on July 26 in his fourth inning as CM and there are signs that he may be asked to step down. Party sources say the central leadership has shortlisted dozens of names to watch out for in the 2023 parliamentary polls. Karnataka is important because it is the southern gateway to the BJP.

Sources say the BJP has attracted eight people and it looks like Lingayat will take on Yediyurappa’s legacy. Dharwad West MLA Aravind Bellad, Vijayapura MLA Basannagouda Patil Yatnal, minister of mines and geology Murgesh R Nirani and Basavaraj Bommai have a chance as they come from Panchamasali Lingayat community.

Strong Yatnal RSS roots and experiences like Union Ministers can be helpful. He is famous in northern Karnataka and was at the forefront of the agitation movement earlier this year by Panchamsali Lingayats quota search for backward caste groups. He was hand-picked by PM Modi.

Bellad, 50, an engineer and businessman from Dharwad, is an obscure politician with a clean image. Baron Sugar Niran, who joined the MLA for the third time from Bilgi in Bagalkot, is said to have a good personal equation with the Union’s interior minister, Amit Shah. If Yediyurappa was asked to propose a successor, he could name Interior Minister Basavaraj Bommai. Non-Lingayat names in the mix include Union Minister Pralhad Joshi and CT Ravi. If Karnataka BJP Nalin Kumar Kateel’s purported audio leak is anything to go by, Joshi could be at the top of the list.

Other names participating in the round were BL Santosh, CN Ashwath Narayan, Laxman Savadi, Govind Karjol and Visveshwara Hegde Kageri. | BJP shortlists 8, but finding BSY’s successor a tough ask


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