Is the BJP gearing up for a leadership overhaul in Karnataka? This speculation has intensified after BJP national general secretary BL Santhosh spoke extensively about BJP’s courage to change leaders and bring fresh faces and keep away dynasty politics.
Speaking at a party function in Mysuru, Santhosh explained how the saffron party had empowered its workers and by replacing sitting elected representatives with loyal workers. With assembly elections in Karnataka slated for 2023, many within the party are interpreting this as a subtle message about not giving tickets to 3-4 time MLAs.
“During the Delhi corporation election, we decided that we will not give tickets to existing corporators and decided to give tickets to new candidates. This time during the corporation elections in Gujarat, we decided to retire everyone who has been in power twice and also ruled out their first circle. If you attend meetings in Gujarat these days, you will see workers who were sitting behind are now in the front row,” said Santhosh.
He didn’t stop at ticket distribution; he spoke about leadership change and the BJP’s focus on bringing in new faces. The party’s national general secretary also referred to Gujarat, where the party changed the Chief Minister and the whole cabinet was replaced with new faces. “We have 4 CMs younger than 50 years. And the average age is 56.5 years, that’s because of two people. If they step down, then the average will come down further. The average age of the central cabinet is 57 years,” he pointed out.
A cabinet expansion is on the cards in Karnataka with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai himself admitting that he is waiting for a green signal from the party high command. According to political analysts, Santhosh’s statement is likely to give jitters to many leaders in the cabinet and Bommai himself.
The state leadership has been busy trying to downplay the statement by Santhosh. “We will give tickets to people who can win, we will drop weak candidates. This has been the yardstick for a long time, there is no reason to give it a different meaning,” said CT Ravi, BJP national general secretary.
Union home minister Amit Shah will be in Bengaluru on Tuesday, and is likely to meet the members of the state BJP core committee later in the evening.
With the Chief Minister hosting all cabinet ministers, MLAs, and MPs for lunch ahead of the core committee meeting, many within the party are wondering if this will be a farewell party for some. The chief minister has postponed the cabinet meeting which was supposed to take place on May 5, further triggering the speculation of a change in the government.