Karnataka BJP leader and minister KS Eshwarappa has reacted to a widely-shared audio clip that talks of a new team in the state without him and former chief minister Jagadish Shettar as part of it.
The BJP’s Karnataka chief, Nalin Kumar Kateel, has denied any connection to the audio recording, although it has been pointed out that the voice in the clip is similar to Mr Kateel’s voice.
“One audio is released in the TV. Our state president expressed saying ‘it is not my voice. This is a fake voice’. He has already told the Chief Minister, ‘Please inquire into the subject.’ There is no subject here,” Mr Eshwarappa said.
The audio clip emerged at a time when there is speculation of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa being replaced by the end of this month. The voice, speaking in the local Tulu language, also says the decision on a new Chief Minister will be taken by the Delhi leadership.
Mr Eshwarappa also said there was no question of a change in leadership in the state. “In some TV (channels), news is coming out that Chief Minister leadership is changing. But so far, there is no question of changing the leadership. Some two to three MLAs are demanding every day and that issue is getting more importance in public. There is no question of change in leadership,” he said.
“Our national in-charge, Arun Singh-ji came here. He got the information from MLAs, MLCs, MPs, and ministers. And they took the decision that Yediyurappa is continuing. There is no doubt at all. National leaders are saying there is no question of changing the leadership. How can this question arise? We are unitedly facing the problem and going on with our government.”
Mr Kateel, while denying that the voice in the clip was his, had termed Mr Yediyurappa as “the soul of our party”, and said Mr Eshwarappa and Mr Shettar “are like the eyes” of the party.
On Saturday, Mr Yediyurappa, 78, refuted speculation raised by his air dash to Delhi on a special plane to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders. He has been facing open criticism and attacks from a section of BJP MLAs for months, and the rebellion has showed no signs of fading.