Amid resignation buzz, who could be BS Yediyurappa's successor in Karnataka?
Bengaluru, July 21: Hectic parleys are on in Karnataka BJP over B S Yediyurappa's exit as the Karnataka Chief Minister. Though, Yediyurappa dismissed reports of leadership change, few in the party are actively mulling to replace him.
Yediyurappa's visit to Delhi, last week sent a fresh wave of speculations over his replacement. However, Yediyurappa tackled the row directly saying he would stay in office as long as the Delhi high command said so and would resign when asked to.
The political drama in Karnataka took a 'spiritual' twist with several seers and leaders of Veerashaiva-Lingayat, which is estimated to form about 16 per cent of the states population backing Yediyurappa.
As the mystery over the leadership change in Karnataka still continues, will BS yediyurappa be replaced as chief minister? If the BJP does so, who could be Yediyurappa's likely successor.
The names of several BJP leaders have been doing the rounds as probable candidates for the top post in the southeren state. Though there is a long list of aspirants for the post, the challenge before the BJP is to pick a candidate who could replace the 78-year old Lingayat strongman.
The BJP should also make sure, the move to replace Yediyurappa does not antagonise its core vote base, the dominant Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, over which Yediyurappa wields considerable influence.
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, BJP national General Secretary C T Ravi and the party''s national organising secretary B L Santhosh are among the prominent leaders, who are seen as the potential candidates for the top post.
Prahlad Joshi, 58
Prahlad Joshi, currently serving as the Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs is among the forntrunners for the post. Though, he is a Brahmin leader, Joshi has a good equation with the Lingayat community. Joshi, a four-time MP from Dharwad constituency, has served in many post in the BJP and a is known as RSS loyalist.
CT Ravi, 54
CT 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.
The names of BL Santhosh and Vishveshwar Hegde Kageri is also doing rounds.
Notably, there has been no Brahmin Chief Minister in the state since 1988, after Ramakrishna Hegde.
From Veerashaiva-Lingayat community, which is the base of BJP vote bank in Karnataka, the names of Mining Minister Murugesh Nirani and MLA Arvind Bellad is doing rounds.
Nirani is a businessman-politician. Bellad is a MLA from Hubli-Dharwad West Assembly constituency, who is seeking Yediyurappa's ouster.
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.
Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar, also a Lingayat leader, is also seen as a contender.