Tumkuru : , June 14 (IANS) About a dozen Lingayat seers, a community to which Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa belongs, came out in his support on Monday, demanding him to continue the as CM for the next two years, besides subtly warning disgruntled BJP leaders not to harass Yediyurappa till his term is completed.
The seers' statement came after the ruling party's national General Secretary, Arun Singh, put an end to all speculation over leadership change in the state, which was immediately followed by Yediyurappa's own assertion that he would be at the helm of affairs for the next two years.
Around 12 seers under the aegis of Shri Shadakshara Bruhanmatha told reporters here that Yediyurappa was the main reason for the BJP to gain a foothold in Karnataka.
"He is often being cornered and harassed. We condemn this as seers. People should stop troubling the Chief Minister and start cooperating with him," the seers stated.
Taking serious note of a section of BJP leaders cornering Yediyurappa over his age, the seers said that associating age with performance is nothing but an insult to a leader who has been relentlessly working for the party.
"We seers feel that repeated silly remarks about his age annoy not only us, but also the entire community which is upset with such meaningless remarks made by his own partymen," the seers stated.
Buttressing their arguments by citing late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi, the seers observed that the country had witnessed CMs performing their duties perfectly even after getting old and becoming wheelchair bound.
"We need to remember that Karunanidhi served as the CM of Tamil Nadu in a wheelchair. We (seers) support Yediyurappa and he should serve as the CM for the next two years," the seers said.
The seers contended that those who often raise the issue of age forget that it was Yediyurappa who toiled day and night to ensure that the BJP crossed the 100-seat mark in Karnataka.
"But for his efforts, BJP would not cross 100 seats. He has been wholeheartedly accepted by the Lingayat community as its leader. The community will not tolerate if anyone tries to topple him citing his age as the criteria. He should not be cornered on his age anymore," the seers said.
They also said that the Lingayat community votes for the BJP only because of Yediyurappa.
Before the reports of leadership change were scotched by the party's top leaders, Yediyurappa's son B.Y. Vijayendra, who is also a BJP vice-president, had met several Lingayat seers on the pretext of a 'courtesy call'.
Meanwhile, BJP's Karnataka in-charge Arun Singh is coming to Bengaluru for a three-day visit on June 16. He will be meeting the state cabinet members along with some party MLAs.
A section of BJP MLAs in Karnataka had been openly demanding that the party's top brass should provide them a platform to air their grievances against the style of functioning of Yediyurappa.
These leaders felt that Yediyurappa had been given more prominence than he deserved, and their main grouse has been the rise of his two sons -- B.Y. Raghvendra, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Shivamogga district, and his younger Vijayendra, who is seen as a shadow CM in Karnataka by his own partymen.