Yediyurappa is unanimous leader, will complete term as CM: K'taka BJP Prez

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Bagalkote (K'taka), Apr 12 (PTI) Amid repeated speculations about change in leadership in Karnataka, state BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel on Monday said Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa was the unanimous leader and will complete the term.

'For the next about two, two-and-half years, Yediyurappa will be the Chief Minister, he is our unanimous leader. There will be no change (in leadership),' Kateel said in response to a question.

Speaking to reporters here, he said, if the media gives importance to someone speaking on the streets about any such changes, the party was not responsible for it.

There has been intense speculation in some quarters that the BJP high command is mulling leadership change in Karnataka in the days to come considering Yediyurappa's age (78 years).

Though the state BJP has rejected outright such speculation in the past, it refuses to die down, with some within the party like senior MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal giving credence to it with their statements.

Setting a new date, Yatnal, also a former Union Minister on Wednesday had said Chief Minister Yediyurappa will be replaced anytime after May 2.

Kateel termed Yatnal's statement on Chief Minister change as a publicity stunt, and asked the media to stop asking for his comments.

He said, the party has issued notice to Yatnal for violating discipline and the matter was before the disciplinary committee, which is looking into it and will take appropriate action.

To a question regarding Yatnal's claims that he was raising voice against nepotism and corruption, the state BJP chief said, there are forums within the party to address if there are such issues, not on streets by violating discipline.

The Bijapur city MLA was earlier slapped with a show- cause notice by the party for repeatedly criticising Yediyurappa and his government.

He had even accused Yediyurappa, his son and state BJP vice-president B Y Vijayendra and other family members of corruption.

Kateel also called Congress in Karnataka a sinking ship, with both its captains- leader of opposition Siddaramaiah and state party chief D K Shivakumar- looking at opposite directions.

He siad in the Assembly elections to four States and the union territory of Puducherry, the BJP will win in West Bengal, Assam, Pondicherry, and open its account in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The party will also win the three seats in Karnataka that are going for bypolls, he said, adding 'Let the Congress win one state if it has guts...'PTI KSU SS PTI PTI