In an attempt to defuse the brewing discontent among party MLAs, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has launched an initiative to reach out to them. He will meet all legislators of the party over two days — Monday and Tuesday — at Capitol Hotel.
He has no other programme scheduled for the two days and the entire time he will be available for the MLAs. The meetings will take place region wise, with scope for one-on-one meetings as well, party sources said. The Chief Minister had recently announced that he would meet party MLAs to hear them out and resolve any issues they had. With a faction within the party actively working to dislodge him, this move is aimed at taking MLAs into confidence and ensuring that the dissenters’ ranks don’t swell, sources close to him said.
Mr. Yediyurappa has come under criticism for “not being accessible” to MLAs and asking the legislators to meet his son B.Y. Vijayendra. Moreover, there has been discontent over the lack of funds for constituency works since the BJP came to power. The grouse of even a dissenter such as Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, who has consistently been hinting at leadership change, is the cancellation of grants to his constituency in Vijayapura. “There seems to be no difference between [the state of things under] the coalition government and now when our party is in power. We are unable to secure funds for development works. When we were in the Opposition, at least we could tell our constituents that we were not in power and they would understand. Now that won’t do,” a senior party MLA said.
Mr. Yediyurappa who holds the Finance portfolio, is caught between a rock and a hard place, with floods in 2019 and later the pandemic in 2020 putting enormous stress on the State’s financial health, leaving him with very little elbow room, sources said. “The Chief Minister will give a patient ear to the MLAs, their woes, and take them into confidence and explain to them the financial situation of the State. He will do the maximum he can,” a strategist close to him said.
However, not all MLAs agree. “There are clear disparities in the allocation of funds. Not all are squeezed equally. The defectors have not only been made Ministers at the cost of party workers, but also continue to enjoy top priority even in constituency works. We who have toiled hard for the party have been left high and dry. Even those close to the Chief Minister seem to be unaffected by the financial strain,” an MLA said.
Arun Singh’s tough message to Yatnal
Mr. Arun Singh had a tough message for dissenting MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal on Sunday. Answering a question on the legislator’s statements on a leadership change in Karnataka, Mr. Singh said, “There is no question of changing the leadership. Yediyurappa is our prominent leader here.” Taking serious exception to Mr. Yatnal’s statement, he asked, “Who is Yatnal? The leaders in the party, senior or not, should follow the party’s discipline. If he has any problem, he can discuss it with the leaders. We have democracy in the party.”
Highly placed sources in the BJP said the Chief Minister raised the issue at the core committee meeting, held on Saturday night, and Mr. Singh directed the State unit of the party to submit a report on all the statements Mr. Yatnal had made on leadership change and other issues. The party high command will take a final call on the issue, sources said.