Karnataka CM Yediyurappa has resigned. Who will replace him?
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa today said that he has decided to resign. He said he would meet the State Governor later in the day. There has been speculation about his exit for days now. Even though there is no clarity as to who will replace him, the names of several frontrunners have been doing the rounds. Who are they?
Murugesh R Nirani, the Karnataka Mines and Geology Minister, is said to be a top contender for the Chief Ministerial post after Yediyurappa's exit. The 56-year-old leader had also visited New Delhi on Sunday, apparently to meet party leaders, further triggering rumors. Nirani, a three-time MLA from the BJP, belongs to the Lingayat community, a crucial factor in state politics.
"I don't know anything and I haven't asked anyone about the same. Senior leaders will take the decision. I am here for some personal work," Nirani told reporters in Delhi on Sunday.
Basavaraj S Bommai, the 61-year-old Home Minister of Karnataka, is Yediyurappa's choice as his successor, media reports suggest. In May, he had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah, leading to speculation about a leadership change. He, however, has been denying the rumors. "I don't want to answer any speculative question," he had earlier said. Bommai is the son of former Karnataka CM SR Bommai.
Aravind Bellad is a younger candidate and comes from a political family - he is the son of veteran BJP leader Chandrakant Bellad. He is a two-time legislator from the Hubli-Dharwad West constituency. Known to be in favor of Yediyurappa's replacement, he had alleged weeks ago that his phone was being tapped as part of a conspiracy. A police inquiry was also launched then.
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, 58, is also being considered as Yediyurappa's successor in Karnataka, reports say. He is a four-time MP from Dharwad. If he assumes the post, Joshi will become the first Brahmin Chief Minister of Karnataka since 1988. He, however, has denied the speculation. "No one has spoken to me about it...It's only the media."
BL Santhosh is the BJP's national general secretary. He was earlier a full-time RSS volunteer from Karnataka and considered a powerful figure in the southern state at that time. CT Ravi is also a national general secretary of the saffron party and a four-time MLA from the Chikmagalur constituency. The 54-year-old was earlier a Minister in the Karnataka State Cabinet.
CN Ashwath Narayan is the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, belonging to the Vokkaliga community. An MLA from Malleshwara suburb of Bengaluru, he is said to enjoy a good image in political circles.