Who will replace BSY? Probable CM faces in Karnataka

NEW DELHI: Ending days of speculation, B S Yediyurappa on Monday announced his decision to quit as Karnataka chief minister.
“I will meet the governor after lunch and submit my resignation,” an emotional Yediyurappa said at a programme to mark two years of his government.
“Not out of grief, but with happiness,” he said, as he thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda for giving him an opportunity to serve as chief minister for two years, despite completing 75 years.

Live updates: Yediyurappa resigns as Karnataka chief minister
Yediyurappa’s sudden trip to Delhi last week, during which he met BJP national leadership, had raised questions in some quarters if the party is now working out a succession plan.
The 78-year-old Lingayat strongman has been the face of the BJP in the state in the past two decades.
Lingayats are the largest community of Karnataka comprising nearly 17 per cent of the population. The community is known to have some firm supporters of the BJP and Yediyurappa and can determine the outcome of 35 to 40 per cent Assembly seats.
Meanwhile, there seems to be a sense of nervousness among 12 legislators who became ministers after defecting from the Congress and JD(S), as they had come to BJP trusting Yediyurappa’s leadership, and without him they fear uncertainty, sources said.
Several leaders in race for Karnataka CM‘s post
Though there is a long list of aspirants for the post, the challenge before the party will be to find a suitable replacement who can fill Yediyurappa’s “big” shoes, a BJP functionary said.
It is said that the BJP is hoping to bring in a generational shift in the state’s leadership, and smooth transition of power but finding a replacement for the “undisputed mass leader” of the party in the state is never going to be easy.
The BJP will also have to strike some kind of a balance while effecting this leadership change, as it will have to see to it that the move does not antagonise its core vote base, the dominant Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, over which Yediyurappa wields considerable influence.
The Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, which is estimated to form about 16 per cent of the state’s population, is considered to be the BJPs core support base in the state, and is reportedly largely opposed to Yediyurappa’s removal.
There are some reports that the party may name a surprise candidate for the chief minister post as they have experimented in other states.
Among the names doing the rounds as probable successor to Yediyurappa are that of Union minister Pralhad Joshi, former Union minister DV Sadananda Gowda, BJP national general secretary C T Ravi and the party’s national organising secretary B L Santhosh.
While Joshi and Santosh are Brahmins; Ravi, who is MLA from Chikkamagaluru, is a Vokkaliga, another dominant community in the state, mostly concentrated in Southern Karnataka, where the party is trying to make inroads.
Another Brahmin name that is being talked about is assembly speaker Vishveshwar Hegde Kageri.
There has been no Brahmin chief minister in the state since 1988, after Ramakrishna Hegde.
Indicating that there may be “surprise pick”, Yediyurappa’s bete noire and senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, who has been openly criticising the chief minister and seeking for his ouster, had recently said that the Prime Minister would choose an honest leader with Hindutva ideology for the post of CM, who can ensure victory for BJP in the next election.
If the party looks for replacing Yediyurappa with another leader from the dominant Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, the probable names that are doing rounds include, mining minister Murugesh Nirani and MLA Arvind Bellad.
While Nirani is a businessman-politician, Bellad is a MLA from Hubli-Dharwad West assembly constituency.
Among the current ministers in the state government, the names of home minister Basavaraj S Bommai (Lingayat), revenue minister R Ashoka and deputy CM, C N Ashwath Narayan (Vokkaligas), have also been doing the rounds.
Another Lingayat leader from north Karnataka — industries minister Jagadish Shettar, who has earlier served as the chief minister — is also seen as a contender.
Karnataka home minister Basavaraj Bommai’s name is also being mentioned.
For the last two weeks, the demand for a Dalit chief minister has also increased in BJP. Dalit leaders like deputy chief minister Govind Karjol and B Sriramulu are also in the race to become the next chief minister.
(With inputs from agencies)

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