With less than a year for the assembly elections, some Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have sought to project party strongman BS Yediyurappa's son BY Vijayendra as the future chief minister.
Both sought to play it down on Wednesday.
Yediyurappa, a former chief minister, however, said Vijayedra, who is currently the party's vice president, will contest the 2023 assembly polls.
"I have worked and travelled across the state as party Yuva Morcha general secretary, and now when the party has given me the responsibility of vice president, I'm successfully performing those duties too. I will abide and work according to the party's decision," Vijayendra told reporters in Hassan.
In Vijayapura, Yediyurappa said neither he nor his son have made any such statements, and would not like to react to comments made by someone close to Vijayendra.
"I don't want to react and can only say, he (Vijayendra) is working and has a good future, let him work and come up.....he is a youth and is working, there is huge confidence and goodwill among youth towards him. In the days to come with the blessings of the people he will get good opportunities and I am confident that he will grow," he added.
On Tuesday, Minister of Youth Empowerment and Sports Narayana Gowda praised Vijayendra and his elder brother BY Raghavendra, who is Shivamogga MP, calling them worthy sons of their father for qualities such as persistence, at a party meeting in Mandya.
"..we are with Vijayanna (Vijayendra) and will work for winning minimum five seats in Mandya (district during 2023 assembly polls)...if any one has the qualities to become next chief minister it is Vijayanna...he is travelling across state, I request him to travel more in old Mysuru region," he had said.
Adding to Gowda's comments, Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani questioned as to what's wrong with a former CM's son becoming a chief minister.
"The party's state and central leadership will decide on it, but no doubt that he (Vijayendra) has all the qualities (to become CM)," he said in Vijayapura.
Ignoring the recommendation of the state unit to field Vijayendra for the June 3 biennial elections to seven seats of the Karnataka legislative council, the party central leadership denied him the ticket. The move was seen in some political quarters as a setback to Yediyurappa.
Several opposition leaders including Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah had termed the move as "sidelining" of Yediyurappa within the BJP.
Hitting out at Siddaramaiah, Yediyurappa said he needs no certificate from the Leader of opposition in the state assembly.
"No one in the BJP has got the positions and respect that I have got. I have been chief minister four times. I have got all the opportunities. I had resigned as CM on my own will, still the party and people have the same respect towards me," he said, promising to work for the party returning to power by winning more than 140 seats (in the 225-member assembly).
Noting that PM Narendra Modi and party leadership had denied the opportunity to his son with an intention that people from the same family should not be given tickets, he said, "He (Vijayendra) will contest the upcoming assembly elections and will win from wherever he contests."
Yediyurappa is currently an MLA from Shikaripura, while his elder son Ragahavendra is Shivamogga MP.
Earlier too there were reports that Vijayendra might be fielded to contest the assembly polls from one of the seats in the old Mysuru (south Karnataka) region, where the party is considered to be weak.
He too had recently stated that he is interested in working in the region, if the party decides.
Vijayendra was appointed as the party vice president in July 2020. Before that he was appointed as BJP youth wing general secretary, soon after he was denied a party ticket to contest from Varuna constituency in Mysuru, ahead of the May 2018 assembly polls.
His stakes increased in the party as he was credited by many to have played a key role for the BJP's first ever victory in KR Pet (where Minister Naryana Gowda was the candidate) and Sira assembly segments during the by-polls held in 2019 and 2020 respectively.