Bangalore: The Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state executive meeting kicked off in Hubballi on Tuesday without former chief minister BS Yediyurappa. The two-day meeting of all senior leaders, MPs, Union and State Ministers of Karnataka is scheduled to discuss governance, party building and reflect on recent election results.

However, what stands out on the first day is the glaring absence of Yediyurappa. This is the first meeting of the BJP executive in the state after Yediyurappa stepped down as chief minister and Basavaraj Bommai took over. Yediyurappa’s son and BJP state vice president BY Vijayendra also missed the meeting.

Senior leaders like former deputy CM CN Ashwathnarayan also missed the meeting, citing “personal reasons”.

Read also : “Positions, positions, life are not permanent”: Bommai’s emotional discourse lays bare Karnataka’s internal struggles BJP

BSY’s state tour plans crumble twice

On the day the Karnataka BJP unit, headed by the National Secretary General and responsible for Karnataka Arun Singh, opened the executive meeting, Yediyurappa shared photos from his visit to the Dubai Expo. Photos of Yediyurappa from Dubai – the only ones he has shared since starting his “vacation” – were timed to coincide with photos from the executive meeting shared by other party leaders.

The former CM is on holiday with his family at the end of the year. Earlier in August, days after stepping down as chief minister, Yediyurappa traveled to the Maldives with his family, sparking speculation about his upcoming move.

“He’s on vacation with his family. There was no reason for him to cancel a predetermined tour. Besides, he has nothing to contribute to this particular executive meeting, ”a close associate of Yediyurappa told ThePrint, adding that the former CM would return to India on Wednesday evening. The executive meeting will end on Wednesday.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, however, insisted that there was nothing wrong. “BS Yediyurappa has a prior commitment to travel. It is not a norm for all leaders to attend the executive meeting. Even during national executive meetings, MPs and ministers cannot attend. This is nothing new. You shouldn’t read it too much, ”Joshi told reporters at Hubballi.

Yediyurappa’s absence comes at a time when his attempts to tour the state after he stepped down as CM have been crushed by the party on two separate occasions.

In addition, some BJP leaders within State Unity are working to undermine its influence in party circles.

“He became a mass leader because the party gave him an opportunity. The party has supported him all these years and now is the time to change the leadership dynamic, ”a national secretary general of the BJP previously told ThePrint.

‘No change in CM’

Earlier, BJP Karnataka official Arun Singh had dismissed speculation about a change in chief minister.

“The question of change in CM is hypothetical. Bommai is a seasoned, straightforward, humble and honest leader and exceeds our expectations as a CM. He will continue to be chief minister and we will go to the polls (in 2023) under his leadership, ”Arun Singh told the media on Monday.

His statement instantly drew comparisons with similar statements in June of this year, made weeks before Yediyurappa was asked to step down as chief minister.

by Bommai statements that the posts and positions were not permanent fueled rumors of a change in leadership. This came after a few BJP leaders, including ministers like Murugesh Nirani and KS Eshwarappa, made statements hinting at a possible change of guard.

“I have the energy and the inspiration to work tirelessly without rest all 365 days of the year. I decided to work at least 15 hours a day. Bringing the BJP back to power in the 2023 election is my goal, ”Bommai told media on Tuesday. He was responding to the statement by BJP MP MLA Kumaraswamy that the Chief Minister should “rest”.

Belagavi’s loss discussed

While the BJP fell short of its own expectations in the last MLC election, Belagavi’s defeat came as a severe shock.

The BJP won one of two seats in Belagavi, while Lakhan Jarkiholi, who ran as an independent after the party denied him a ticket, defeated the official BJP candidate.

Jarkiholi is the brother of BJP leaders Ramesh and Balachandra Jarkiholi and Congress leader Satish Jarkiholi. The party is seeking to determine whether there was “sabotage” on the part of the influential Jarkiholi family to secure Lakhan’s victory and the defeat of the BJP candidate.

The Jarkiholi brothers, too, were not part of the state executive meeting.

The executive meeting will also aim to curb public criticism of Bommai and his government and improve coordination between the government and the party.

(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)

Read also : How BL Santhosh eventually supplanted Yediyurappa and is now the BJP man of choice in Karnataka