Karnataka: Amit Shah's visit sparks leadership change, cabinet rejig rumors
Home Minister Amit Shah will arrive in Bengaluru late on Monday amid rumors of a leadership change in Karnataka ahead of the 2023 Assembly elections. Shah will reportedly meet CM Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday and then hold a core committee meeting. Also, Bommai's meeting with BJP National General Secretary BL Santhosh and Karnataka BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel on Sunday triggered cabinet reshuffle speculations.
- Shah's Bengaluru visit assumes significance since it comes after Santhosh recently indicated a major overhaul, saying BJP has the "courage and strength to implement wholesale changes in state leadership."
- Santhosh noted the party did the same in Gujarat and Delhi earlier. However, he added they don't have to follow suit in Karnataka.
- While BJP is unlikely to replace Bommai, a cabinet rejig seems possible.
A cabinet rejig could reportedly be done keeping in mind the upcoming local body elections in some parts of Karnataka. Meanwhile, addressing BJP workers last week, Santhosh asserted changes bring novelty—citing the case of Gujarat where CM Vijay Rupani was replaced by Bhupendra Patel last year. His statements created a buzz about Bommai being replaced within a year of taking charge as the CM.
Bommai, who replaced BS Yediyurappa as Karnataka's CM in July 2021, has not react to Santhosh's statements. Talking to The Indian Express, however, he said, "There are some people who live under the illusion that they are highly competent and smart... I am not living." "I am trying to ensure that the people of my state...live competent lives," he added, listing his government's achievements.
Meanwhile, former Karnataka CM Yediyurappa is also scheduled to meet Shah on Tuesday. He said Shah was visiting as elections are due next year and will discuss the road ahead. Yediyurappa said, "It is the responsibility of the central leaders to decide on the tickets for the Assembly elections." Moreover, Shah is expected to take a call on accommodating Yediyurappa's son—BY Vijayendra—in the cabinet.
Sources told IANS non-performing senior ministers might be dropped and 10 new faces could be inducted into the Karnataka cabinet. The move seems likely as Karnataka witnessed a series of controversies involving several ministers of late, which—the BJP high command reportedly fears—would impact the 2023 Assembly polls. Shah is also likely to discuss the "unrest" in Karnataka and the state government's strong "Hindutva approach.