New Delhi, July 25 : With the countdown for the change of guard nearing, the BJP top brass is contemplating to recommend the incumbent National General Secretary (Organisation) of the party, B.L. Santhosh as the successor of Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa.
The speculation about change of guard gained unprecedented momentum in the state after the 78-year-old Lingayat strongman and the BJP’s aging mascot in Karnataka said on July 23 that he would abide by the party high-command’s decision whether to remain as Chief Minister or to quit.
“Our party leaders will inform me on Sunday (July 25) evening and I will follow their diktat on Monday, (July 26), as I will be completing two years in the office,” he had stated on July 23.
According to top level BJP functionaries in New Delhi, apart from B.L. Santhosh, the top brass is also mulling over four Deputy Chief Ministers retaining Laxman Suvadi, who belongs to the Lingayat community, which is one of the biggest in Karnataka comprising nearly 15 per cent of the state’s population.
One of the functionary said that Yediyurappa will be resigning on Monday after citing his ill-health as reason during the BJP’s legislator’s meeting.
The functionary added that B.L. Santhosh belonging to Brahmin community, which is about 2 per cent of the state’s population, and in order to balance caste equations, the BJP top brass has come out with four DCM formula –- Lingayat, Vokkaliga, OBC and SC/ST –- to placate all prominent communities in the state.
The functionary further elaborated that among the three incumbent DCMs, in all probability Laxman Suvadi is likely to continue, while C N. Ashwath Narayan, belonging to the Vokkaliga community, may be replaced with former Karnataka Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who is one of the 12 Union Ministers dropped by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The functionary added that first time MLA, Rupali Naik from Karwar who belongs to OBC Maratha community, is likely to clinch as Deputy Chief Minister’s post under the OBC category.
The Deputy Chief Minister’s post is yet to be decided on whether to appoint an SC or an ST leader to shore up a sizeable chunk of the SC/ST votes in the state.
The functionary added that the new Chief Minister will be sworn in along with others in a day or two after July 26.