Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa (File image: PTI)
Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader BS Yediyurappa resigned as Karnataka Chief Minister on July 26, the day his government completed two years in office.
With Yediyurappa’s resignation, the guessing game has started. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Karnataka BJP in-charge Arun Singh are likely to be two central observers for Karnataka, according to the sources.
Here is list of frontrunners who may replace 78-year-old BS Yediyurappa as next Chief Minister of Karnataka.
READ: Fresh trouble for Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa, disgruntled BJP MLAs seek his ouster
Murugesh Nirani, 56
Murugesh Nirani, who was the minister of mines and geology in Yediyurappa cabinet, is said to be one of the top contenders for the chief ministerial post. Nirani was in Delhi, apparently to meet BJP’s central leadership on July 25, a day ahead of Yediyurappa’s resignation. Like Yediyurappa, Nirani also represents the Lingayat community that has been supporting the BJP in the state. Nirani is also the chairman of Nirani Group of industries.
"I never lobbied for any post in my life. I will shoulder the responsibility bestowed on me by the party. Our national leaders will choose the right person for the CM post after considering all the factors," Nirani said recently.
Also, read: Politics | It’s BS Yediyurappa vs BJP’s central leadership in Karnataka
Pralhad Joshi, 58
Joshi, who is the present Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, is also one of the contenders for the top post in Karnataka. The veteran BJP leader represents Dharwad parliamentary constituency since 2004. On July 24, Joshi said the BJP's top leadership has not spoken to him about the exit of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa or him taking over as the successor. Joshi is a Brahmin and Karnataka has not seen a Brahmin CM since 1988, after Ramakrishna Hegde.
"No one has spoken to me about it (succeeding Yediyurappa). It's only the media, which is discussing it. As no one has spoken to me, there is no need to react to it," he said.
C T Ravi, 54
CT Ravi is BJP’s national general secretary and a four-time MLA from the Chikmagalur constituency. Before becoming the national general secretary of the party, he was a minister in the state cabinet. On July 26, Ravi congratulated Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on completing two years in office. "I congratulate BS Yediyurappa Ji for completing two years as CM today. He has done good work. He will continue to guide Karnataka and BJP... It is being reported in the news media. I can't say much on this matter," CT Ravi said.
Also, read: BJP faces a Catch-22 situation in Karnataka
Basavaraj S Bommai, 61
Bommai was the home minister in the outgoing Yediyurappa cabinet. He has also refuted speculations of him becoming Karnataka’s next Chief Minister. Bommai is the son of former Chief Minister of Karnataka, SR Bommai.
Arvind Bellad, 51
Arvind Bellad is another Lingayat community leader who comes from a political family. He is a two-time MLA from the Hubli-Dharwad West constituency. Bellad is the son of veteran RSS and BJP leader Chandrakant Bellad and has a strong academic background with an engineering degree from SDM College of Engineering in Dharwad and a PGDM in business management from INSEAD in France.
Jagadish Shettar, 65
Jagdish Shettar, a minister in the outgoing Yediyurappa's cabinet, served as the state's chief minister between 2012 and 2013. He too represents the Lingayat community.
Other names including Karnataka Assembly Speaker Vishveshwar Hegde Kageri, Karnataka deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan are also in the race, as per media reports.