BJP central leaders asked me to continue in CM post: Yediyurappa

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Bengaluru, Jul 17 (PTI) Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Saturday said BJP central leaders have asked him to continue in his post and there was no discussion on leadership change.

'The central leaders have asked me to continue as Chief Minister and strengthen the party. It is our duty to follow their instructions from time to time.There is no question of leadership change,' the 79-year-old BJP veteran said.

The Chief Minister was speaking to reporters on his return from Delhi, where he had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP president J P Nadda during his two-day visit, amid continued bickering among a section of BJP MLAs in the state who have been seeking his ouster.

He held discussions with central leaders on issues ranging from politics to the Mekedatu balancing reservoir across Cauvery river, which is a bone of contention between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Earlier in the day, Yediyurappa had dismissed news reports about his resignation as chief minister as 'not at all true'.

Back in Bengaluru, Yediyurappa denied having any discussion on alternative leadership but emphasised that there was no dearth of 'substitute' leaders in the BJP.

However, he maintained that the party has given him the charge and he will work to strengthen the party by taking everyone along.

Speaking about his meeting with Modi, Yediyurappa said in his half-an-hour meeting, he had a discussion on issues ranging from state to national level politics.

He said during his interaction with Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nadda he discussed the political situation in Karnataka and the works to be done in future.

'In a way, this was a very successful meeting.They have only one expectation from us, which is winning the assembly election with a majority, winning maximum members of Parliament and special emphasis on strengthening the organisation,' Yediyurappa said.

Assembly elections are due in Karnataka in 2023.

He said he has assured them that in the coming days he will make sincere efforts to live up to the expectations of the party high command to further strengthen the party base in the state.

To a question on some leaders complaining against him with the party leaders, the Chief Minister said he did not discuss it.

'You know well who all spoke ill against me.I am not bothered about them.Our Central leaders too did not ask about it,' Yediyurappa said.

The Chief Minister said he has convened a legislative party meeting on July 26 when he would be completing his two years in office where he will discuss strengthening the party base.

Yediyurappa's comment that he has been asked to continue as Chief Minister also made it apparent that a pressure group has not given up its efforts to get him dislodged despite the party asserting even recently that he would continue in his post.

Arun Singh, party general secretary and Karnataka incharge, had said a month ago that Yediyurappa would complete the rest of his term as Chief Minister and termed the issue of leadership change 'imaginary'.

Prominent among those who have been vocal against Yediyurappa's continuation as Chief Minister are Vijayapura City MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and MLC A H Vishwanath who leveled corruption charges against Yediyurappa's son and BJP state vice president B Y Vijayendra and alleged his interference in the administration.

Others who have also reportedly raised a pitch against Yediyurappa are state Tourism Minister C P Yogeeshwar and BJP MLA Arvind Bellad.

Yediyurappa's trip to Delhi took place a month after Arun Singh's Bengaluru visit in the wake of Yediyurappa detractors continuing to target him.PTI GMS RS VGN BN BALA BN BALA

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