Chief Minister’s inner circle under a churn?


Many attribute the developments to a new order brought in after the ascent of Vijayendra

The recent exit of two advisers to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa — while political adviser M.B. Maramkal was sacked, media adviser Mahadeva Prakash resigned; both of them are said to have played a role in bringing him to power — seem to be only the latest in a series of exits from the Chief Minister’s inner circle ever since he took charge in July 2019.

“The first noticeable departure was of Shobha Karandlaje, MP, who dominated the inner circle of Mr. Yediyurappa during his last stint as Chief Minister, but was nowhere to be seen from day one of this stint. From then on many seem to have fallen out — N.R. Santosh, V. Somanna, C.P. Yogeshwar, and M.P. Renukacharya, to name a few,” said a senior BJP leader. While some of them like Mr. Santosh and Mr. Renukacharya continue to hang on, they seem to have lost their prominence in the scheme of things, he added.

A new order brought in after the ascent of Chief Minister’ son B.Y. Vijayendra, who presently dominates the inner circle, seems to have paved the way for many of these exits, sources said. Many who have not been able to keep pace with Mr. Vijayendra, or those who have expressed concerns with the Chief Minister over his style of functioning have been edged out, sources close to Mr. Yediyurappa conceded.

‘Bridging the gap’

However, those close to Mr. Vijayendra allege he is a soft target for pinning blame and he was only helping to “bridge the generation gap between young MLAs, party leaders, and the septuagenarian Chief Minister” and was concentrating on party affairs. A senior leader, sympathetic to Mr. Yediyurappa, said it was natural of the Chief Minister to be relying on his son to help him as he was delivering results. “Such churnings are bound to happen around any political leader today. Many of those who have exited failed to deliver,” he said.

A cross-section of party leaders, including those who have fallen out of the Chief Minister’s inner circle, have raised concern that Mr. Yediyurappa was not getting varied inputs as he should ideally be, both with respect to politics and administration. “For instance, the decision to appoint 24 MLAs to boards and corporations in July and the formation of the Maratha Development Corporation and the Veerashaiva-Lingayat Development Corporation, which have opened a can of worms, seem to have come out of the blue for both the party and the Cabinet. There was no consultation,” a senior Minister said.

Several political leaders who were considered close to the Chief Minister, including Ministers and Ministerial aspirants, also seem to be no longer so. Multiple Ministers, mostly Lingayats, who were seen with Mr. Yediyurappa almost every day, are now sticking to their ministerial brief, unhappy at how they have been sidelined, sources said.

“Meanwhile, many among the defectors, who essentially came into the party through Mr. Yediyurappa, and some of the Ministerial aspirants are today directly lobbying with the party high command, especially with national general secretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh,” a party leader pointed out.

A strategist close to Mr. Yediyurappa said this was the result of how the high command has repeatedly snubbed him over flood relief, not giving the green signal for Cabinet expansion, and selection of Rajya Sabha nominees. Coming amid speculations of a leadership change, these developments have caused concern among those close to the Chief Minister.

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