N.R. Santosh, former personal secretary to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa who played a key role during ‘Operation lotus’ to woo MLAs from the Congress and the JD(S) in 2019 that pulled down the coalition government, leading to a Bharatiya Janata Party government in the State, is expected to be appointed as political secretary to the Chief Minister, according to sources.

This comes amid rumours of a renewed campaign against Mr. Yediyurappa’s leadership by a section of the BJP legislators, especially those from north Karnataka.

The post will have a Minister of State rank and if the appointment comes through, he will be the third political secretary to the Chief Minister — senior MLAs M.P. Renukacharya and S.R. Vishwanath are already functioning as his political secretaries.

This has raised the eyebrows as Mr. Santosh, also a close relative of the Chief Minister, seemed to have had a fallout with the family after the BJP came to power.

While sources close to the Chief Minister claimed Mr. Santosh has brought pressure from the RSS, others in the party said it was a move to cut some support to the rebels, who have continued to lobby for the Chief Minister’s removal. Mr. Santosh was said to be associated with them, even though he has denied any such association.

A senior BJP leader claimed that Mr. Santosh was only “a victim of a power play within Mr. Yediyurappa’s family” as Chief Minister’s son B.S. Vijayendra took over the affairs. “Now the family seems to have reunited again,” he said.

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