After BS Yediyurappa, who will lead Karnataka, BJP in 2023 polls? | Bengaluru News – Times of India

A short list of probables in the reckoning
Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri
The 58-year-old 6-time MLA from Uttara Kannada district (elected thrice from Ankola and thrice from Sirsi) Is believed to enjoy the backing of RSS and is considered a staunch party loyalist. Known for his clean image, Kageri was primary and secondary education minister in the BJP government in 2008-2013. He was elected Speaker of the assembly in 2019 after the fall of the JD(S)-Congress coalition government. Though a hardcore Hindutva ideologue, Kageri is seen as an affable leader in his constituency and the party, capable of building bridges. The only possible disadvantage, say insiders, could be that he comes from a small sub-caste of the Brahmin community.
Basanagouda Patil Yatnal
BJP believes Yatnal’s influence among the Lingayats has increased after he successfully led the Panchamasalis Padayatra from Kudal Sangama to Bengaluru to demand reservation for the community despite Yediyurappa’s efforts to curtail it. A fierce Hindutva ideologue and an eternal rebel, Yatnal has been a vocal critic of Yediyurappa and his son Vijayendra, and in the past, former CM Jagadish Shettar and Union minister Pralhad Joshi. This led him to JD(S) before Yediyurappa welcomed him back in BJP ahead of the 2018 assembly polls. Yatnal served as minister of state in the Vajpayee cabinet. Many in BJP believe his loud mouth and rebellious streak might work against him though he is leaving no stone unturned to become CM.
Murugesh Nirani
Mining minister and well-known industrialist Murugesh Nirani’s name is doing rounds for the CM’s post under the Lingayat quota. Union home minister Amit Shah had recently come to Bagalkot district to inaugurate a sugar mill owned by Nirani. Like Yediyurappa, he also has the backing of several Lingayat mutts. He was in Delhi just before BSY’s resignation announcement.
Arvind Bellad
Bellad is believed to fit the bill, given the BJP leadership’s preference for young, fresh faces to lead states – for instance, Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra and Yogi Adityanath in UP. A foreign-educated engineer and businessman, Bellad is a 2-time MLA from Hubballi-Dharward West, which his father Chandrakant Bellad represented four times. While the party could hope to cash in on his clean and urbane image, he is also a Lingayat, which should help assuage any hurt felt by the community over BSY’s exit. Bellad’s repeated visits to Delhi in the past 3-4 months have only fanned the buzz.
CT Ravi
The 6-time MLA from Chikkamagaluru is in the reckoning, say supporters, due to his firebrand Hindutva image, his unflinching loyalty to the party and his clout in RSS. His recent elevation as BJP national general secretary, despite his lack of fluency in Hindi and English, is being seen as a sign of the central leadership’s faith in him. BJP insiders believe his image as a Sangh Parivar man, rather than as a Vokkaliga leader, will also fend off any opposition from Lingayats.
Pralhad Joshi

The four-time MP from Hubballi-Dharwad, a Brahmin, say BJP insiders, is being considered as a chief ministerial candidate by the party leadership to end the impression of BJP being centred around a person and caste (Yediyurappa & Lingayat) in Karnataka.
Joshi, who remained in the shadows till late Union minster HN Ananth Kumar held sway, became a minister in the Modi cabinet for the first time in 2019. He is believed to have won the confidence of Modi-Shah with his deft handling of the parliamentary affairs ministry, especially in view of the confrontations in Parliament, and his command over Hindi and English.

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Sagar Biswas

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