During his visit to Karnataka, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is said to have discussed recent developments and organisational matters with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and senior BJP leaders of the state, where assembly elections are likely before May next year, party sources said on Thursday. Shah, who landed in the city late on Wednesday night to attend ‘Sankalp Se Siddhi’, an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here to celebrate 75 years of Indian independence today, is also said to have held deliberations with state BJP strong man and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.
According to sources, he discussed the recent communal murders including that of BJP activist Praveen Nettar in Dakshina Kannada district, which triggered widespread protest and a spate of resignations of the party and its Yuva Morcha members at various places, and open expression of angst by several Hindutva ideologues and organisation, accusing the state government of not standing up to protect the lives of Hindu Karyakartas. Shah gathered details of recent murders in Dakshina Kannada and related incidents from Home Minister Araga Jnanendra.
“Cannot reveal everything to you, he has gathered information. Rather than saying he sought an explanation, he has taken information, and also discussed strengthening the NIA probe,” Jnanendra told reporters in response to a query. Noting that Shah is satisfied with the government’s performance, he said, “He gets all the information, he need not come to Bengaluru to do things…..he also gives suggestions from time to time.” Shah is also said to have had some informal talks regarding some organisational changes, with the term of state party chief Nalin Kumar Kateel coming to end this month, sources said, adding that however there is no clarity on discussions on the much-awaited expansion or rejig of Bommai cabinet.
Kateel had taken over as state BJP President from Yediyurappa in August 2019. Shah’s meeting with Yediyurappa gains significance, following him signaling the end of his innings in electoral politics by stating that he will vacate his Shikaripura assembly seat for his son BY Vijayendra if the party fields him in 2023 assembly polls.
Many in the party feel that the leadership wants to ensure that Yediyurappa doesn’t feel sidelined, as it fears negative implications for the party in the polls, in the event of the veteran leader choosing to remain inactive.