My Delhi trip nothing to do with leadership change in Karnataka: Yogeeshwara

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Bengaluru, May 27 (PTI) Karnataka Tourism Minister C P Yogeeshwara, whose visit to New Delhi triggered latest round of speculations about attempts to replace Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, on Thursday said it was to discuss his own political future with national leaders and had nothing to with leadership change in the state.

However, he dodged the question on his support to Yediyurappa on the leadership issue, saying he will share his opinion at the party forum when the matter comes up.

'I keep going to Delhi and come back, everything I can't say in front of the media.

In the days to come and when the situation arises, I will tell.. I don't know from where these discussions (leadership change) started and why...,' Yogeeshwara said.

Asked if there will be leadership change, he said he shared 'no such opinion or feelings', and reiterated that his attempt was to air his concerns within the party framework to the high command and not to accuse or blame anyone.

'.. Chief Minister change is not my intention, I don't have that strength also, my concern is whether I can win the 2023 election given the situation today.. there is some kind of understanding happening with those, whom we had to face ably.

As it may become an impediment in the future, I'm bringing it to the notice of those concerned now itself,' he said.

However, when questioned whether he will support Yediyurappa on the issue of leadership change, he said, 'when it comes let's see, why now itself? when that question comes up I will share my opinion at the party forum, can't say it before the media.' According to reports, the BJP's central leadership had refused to meet Yogeeshwara and Hubballi-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad, who were said to be camping in Delhi seeking appointment to express the feeling of some legislators against Yediyurappa's style of functioning and request them to rein in the Chief Minister.

They were even reportedly conveyed not to come to Delhi on this issue.

Repeatedly stating that his visit to Delhi was on personal issues and not leadership change, Yogeeshwara said he had nothing to do with Bellad's visit, and that he was on his own.

Noting that BJP has made him MLC, Minister, he said he is hoping to contest the 2023 polls, and has some issues of concern to be shared with the leadership.

Observing that he had brought them to Yediyurappa's notice also, Yogeeshwara further reminded that he had told soon after becoming MLC that this government doesn't look like 'pure BJP government and was emerging as the three party government.' 'I will not speak about the issues openly before the media, I want to discuss it within the party forum,' he said as he clarified that he was not referring to those who have come from other parties, but about having an understanding with opposition parties.

The Minister was apparently referring to local politics at his home turf of Channapatna in Ramanagara district, where JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy and state Congress President D K Shivakumar are his bitter opponents.

He faced defeat in Chennapattana constituency against Kumaraswamy in 2018 assembly polls as BJP candidate.

He was once considered Shivakumar's protege and had now turned political foe.

Earlier, he had also claimed that top leaders of JD(S) and Congress were indirectly supporting the state government and were indulging in 'adjustment politics'.

When reporters repeatedly asked as to what was the issue he is facing that had to be taken up with the high command, Yogeeshwara said it is not regarding him not being made Ramanagara district incharge minister, but the BJP coming back to power in 2023.

'.. I'm a Minister, I can't accept if my son is exercising my powers. In the same way I can't agree to someone else exercising powers in my name and in my jurisdiction.

I think you (the media) understand the sensitivities,' he said, without elaborating.

In recognition of his role in 'managing' Congress-JD(S) rebel MLAs in Mumbai, which eventually led to BJP coming to power, Yogeeshwara was rewarded with an MLC nomination in July last year, and was subsequently made Minister by Yediyurappa, despite stiff resistance by several party MLAs.

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