Bengaluru, July 21 (PTI): Support continues to pour in for Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa from Mutts, as several pontiffs made a beeline to his official residence for the second consecutive day on Wednesday and threw their weight behind him, amid speculations that his exit was on the cards.
A delegation of about 40 pontiffs met Yediyurappa under the leadership of Siddalinga Swamiji of Siddaganga Mutt, an influential Lingayat seminary in the State, and urged the BJP leadership to allow Yediyurappa complete his term.
A few of them have reportedly warned the saffron party of bad consequences if Yediyurappa is replaced.
'Why is it (leadership change talks) happening, when the Chief Minister is working efficiently at the time of crisis? The wish of all the Swamijis is that he should be the Chief Minister for a complete term. Earlier too, he was not Chief Minister for the complete term,' Siddalinga Swamiji said.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, he said all that the Chief Minister has said is that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP National President J P Nadda have shown special care towards him, and he was the only one who was given the exception to continue in the top post despite completing 75 years of age.
'Yediyurappa has said he will continue to serve the party until his last breath, but he did not say anything when asked about the resignation,' the Swamiji added.
On Tuesday, over two dozen pontiffs from different parts of the State, led by Balehosur mutt's Dingaleshwar Swamy, met Yediyurappa, during which the latter had told them that he would have to abide by the decision taken by the BJP central leadership, giving some credence to speculation that a change of leadership was on the anvil.
As many as 300-400 pontiffs are expected to gather in Bengaluru in a couple of days to discuss the future course of action, sources said.
Stating that all the pontiffs are of the view that Yediyurappa, who belongs to the community, a core votebase of BJP, should continue in office and complete the term, Siddalinga Swamiji today said this is a time of crisis as rains have begun, COVID-19 third wave is likely, and if there is a change at this point in time, it would not be possible to provide a stable administration and serve the people.
'Keeping all this in mind, he (Yediyurappa) should continue and he should be there as the Chief Minister till the end of this term, this is the wish of all the seers,' he said on behalf of other pontiffs.
Siddalinga Swamiji is the successor of late Shivakumara Swamiji of Siddaganga Mutt, who was known as the 'Walking God'.
Rejecting criticism that pontiffs are indulging in politics, Siddalinga Swamiji said the pontiffs have supported all Chief Ministers, whichever party they may be from.
'We are non-partisan, but the special thing about Yediyurappa is that we want him to complete the term,' he said.
Meanwhile, Mallikarjun Swamiji of Murugha mutt in Dharwad warned that BJP would face a major setback in Karnataka if Yediyurappa is replaced as he is the 'foundation' for the party in the State, and that the veteran leader should be allowed to complete the term.
Stating that any government can give a good administration if there is a complete freedom, Panditaradhya Shivacharya Swami of Sanehalli Taralabalu Mutt said if Centre conspires to control the State governments any Chief Minister cannot give a complete administration as their hands would be tied, and 'this is what has happened' to Yediyurappa.
Kolada Mutt Seer Dr Shantaveera Swamiji said Yediyurappa, who has brought BJP to power in South, should not be replaced, and in case it is done a Veerashaiva-Lingayat should be made the Chief Minister.
Yediyurappa is known for having provided generous grants to mutts and religious institutions during his previous term as Chief Minister, and thereby has earned their trust, according to some analysts.
Recently, amid speculations on his replacement, Yediyurappa's younger son and State BJP Vice-President B Y Vijayendra held a series of meetings with prominent Veerashaiva-Lingayat seers, which had raised eyebrows in political circles.
Community factor also seems to have come to the fore with prominent Veerashaiva-Lingayat political leaders and seers from the community throwing their weight behind Yediyurappa.
On Monday, Congress leaders Shamanur Shivashankarappa and M B Patil, also Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru, the head of the Chitradurga-based Sri Jagadguru Murugharajendra Mutt, Sri Veera Someshwara Shivacharya Swami of Rambhapuri Peetha of Balehonnur, and Srisaila Jagadguru Channa Siddharama Panditaradhya, had warned BJP of backlash if Yediyurappa is replaced. PTI KSU RS NVG NVG