BJP MP says Karnataka will have Dalit as CM someday

Bengaluru, Jan 30 (PTI) Senior BJP leader and Member of Parliament Ramesh Jigajinagi on Thursday expressed confidence that a Dalit from the party would become the Karnataka Chief Minister someday.

A Dalit himself, he, however, ruled out any personal ambitions of occupying the top job, but said he was ready to come to state politics, if the high command asks him to.

'Definitely, there will be a Dalit as the Chief Minister of the state, whether someone will become (Dalit CM) today or tomorrow is not the question, but the person will be from the BJP,' Jigjinagi told reporters at Vijayapura.

'Whether it is in 2023 or 2025 or after my death, someone from the Dalit community will certainly become the chief minister. If a Dalit doesn't become, we will not leave,' he said.

Responding to a question about him becoming Chief Minister, he said he doesn't have any such aspirations and being follower of former Chief Ministers Ramakrishna Hegde and J H Patel, he wants to respectfully retire from politics.

Jigajinagi (67), who represents the Bijapur Lok Sabha constituency, had served as Union Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation in the previous Narendra Modi- led government.

Asked about talks within the BJP circles to bring him to state politics, Jigajinagi said he has had no such instructions from the party leadership so far but if the high command wants him to come to the state, he would not reject it.

Noting that he was not restricted to any particular community, the MP said in over four decades of political carrier, he has not identified himself with caste politics.

B S Yediyurappa, the current Chief Minister of the state, belongs to the dominant Lingayat community.

Amid speculation recently about the continuity of Yediyurappa as Chief Minister considering his age, the 76- year-old Chief Minister had expressed confidence of completing his full-term.

The BJP's current dispensation under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah has retired several senior party leaders at the age of 75.

However, an exception was said to have been made in Yediyurappa's case after the BJP won 25 of 28 Lok Sabha seats during the Lok Sabha election under his leadership. PTI KSU RS NVG NVG