In an oblique reference to the party high command’s decision to appoint an ‘outsider’ as Chief Minister of the state, newly sworn-in minister and BJP veteran leader, K. S. Eshwarappa on Thursday said that he was ‘eagerly waiting for the day a ‘nationalist’ take over the mantle of chief ministership in Karnataka.
In his interaction with media persons, nowhere he mentioned any name either from central leadership or from state leadership, however, he dropped enough hints that he was upset with the party’s decision to appoint, former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s nominee Basavaraj Bommai as new chief minister.
Bommai was sworn in as Chief Minister on July 28. He is considered to be a close aide of Yediyurappa and he migrated from Janata Parivar to BJP in 2008 and he had often claimed that his ‘political principles’ are largely based on leftist leader, M. N. Roy. Among all BJP CMs, he is the only ‘outsider’ to be picked as the CM other than North-eastern states.
Eshwarappa, known for his frank admissions and outspokenness, told reporters he is hoping that his party will get a majority on its own in the 2023 Assembly polls in the state.
“Whenever we have come to power in the state, it has been from the ‘outside support’. As party leaders, I wish that at least in 2023, the BJP must retain Karnataka by winning a majority on its own,” he said and added that only then a true nationalist’ can be the CM here.
Continuing further, he added that the BJP has never believed in the concept of caste and religion but it is fundamentally based its thinking on nationalist ideology, where caste, religion does not matter. “As am a very old leader from Sangh Parivar, I wish to see a true nationalist becoming CM in Karnataka, and this post should be selected based on the caste, creed, or religion,” he said.
Eshwarappa’s statement assumes significance as the party high command had decided to drop senior leaders like Jagadish Shettar, S. Suresh Kumar, Aravind Limbavali from the cabinet, though they all came from staunch Sangh parivar background.
Till he was sworn in as minister on Wednesday, not many in the BJP were vouching this time that Eshwrappa would be inducted in the new cabinet. However, in his case, it proved a game-changer, after over a dozen pontiffs belonging to Kuruba community (Shepherds) to which Eshwarappa belongs held a press conference and demanded at least deputy chief minister’s post for Eshwarappa last week.