As BS Yediyurappa announces his resignation as Karnataka chief minister, the suspense over the leadership change in the Karnataka government ended at the end of his speech at the celebrations of his Govt completing two years. Yediyurappa broke down as he spoke:
“I have quit of my own will; no one put any pressure for me to do so. I have not recommended any names for my successor. Whoever is appointed, I will work with him to build the Party. I will not accept any gubernatorial role and will very much be in Karnataka only. I will work to bring the Party to power in the next elections.”
Many are curiously asking with a hope of some conspiracy, why did BS Yediyurappa, under whose leadership lotus flourished in Karnataka, resign? To answer their curiosity, let us first look at BSY’s entire political journey, which was a trial by fire in his own words.
BS Yediyurappa has been BJP’s Phoenix rising from the ashes. An unapologetic Hindu and a proud Kannadiga, BSY was a hardboiled RSS Swayamsevak. He joined RSS when he was 15 and became Jana Sangh’s Shikaripura (Shivamogga district) Taluk chief in the early 1970s. BSY was also jailed during the Emergency, worked as a clerk in SWD before taking up a similar job at a rice mill in his native Shikaripura before he set up his hardware shop in Shivamogga.
He was first elected to the Assembly from Shikaripura in 1983 and went on to win eight times from there. Along with being the Party’s state unit president, he has also served as the opposition leader in the Legislative Assembly, member of Legislative Council, as also a member of Parliament. BSY vigorously built BJP brick by brick from the ground up at the village level in Karnataka when nobody was behind him.
BSY landed in the hot seat in 2004 when the BJP emerged as the single largest Party, but the Congress and JD(S) allied, and a Govt. was formed under Dharam Singh. BSY, the astute politician, joined hands with Kumaraswamy in 2006 and brought down the Dharam Singh Govt. after Lokayukta indicted the CM in an alleged mining scam. Under a rotational scheme, Kumaraswamy became the CM and BSY his deputy.
BSY became CM for the first time in November 2007, but his term lasted just seven days as Kumaraswamy reneged on a power-sharing pact and walked out of the alliance. In the 2008 polls, Yediyurappa led the Party to victory, and the first-ever BJP government in South India was formed under him. During his Chief-minister ship, he established good relations with neighbours and ran non-confrontational governance.
Soon controversies swirled with vicious Lutyens witch hunt. He faced enormous challenges after a discredited Lokayukta report in an alleged mining scam. BJP sidelined BSY over a silly fit of misplaced sanctimony. A politician who spent the best part of his life in the opposition was forced to resign in July 2011.
After quitting, BSY broke his decades-long association with BJP and formed the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP). However, he failed to make the KJP a force to reckon with. At the same time, BJP also lost the election and its base in Karnataka after that terrible lapse of judgment.
Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and after a detailed backroom persuasion by the PM candidate Narendra Modi, the two regrouped in January 2014. BJP won 19 out of 28 seats, and the Party witnessed a remarkable turnaround. In 2019, Karnataka gave BJP+ 26 out of 28 seats.
In October 2016, BSY got a huge relief when a special CBI court acquitted him from the alleged mining case, which had cost him the CMship in 2011. The Karnataka HC also quashed all FIRs against BSY lodged by Lokayukta and was appointed the state BJP chief for the fourth time. The BJP declared him its chief ministerial candidate in the 2018 assembly polls.
The poll threw up a hung verdict; the Governor invited BSY to form the Govt. after the Supreme Court intervened and asked him to prove the majority in the House. The three-day-old BJP Govt. ceased with BSY resigning in a tame anti-climax. He again became the CM after the Congress-backed Kumaraswamy Govt. collapsed.
He built the solid bedrock for the Lingayath community in Karnataka, which will remain perennial forever. The state will never forget his legacy and good work for the farmers of north Karnataka. BSY ran an excellent Govt. whenever he got a chance.
Today he relinquishes power!! Rare news in the Indian political spectrum!
Today no one comes even close to him in Karnataka concerning leadership and mass following. But for any political party to remain a force, it is always better to have leadership depth in the Party than rely on one person. BSY was already 75+ in 2019 when he became CM against the accepted policy of the Party to not give minister or CM post for 75+ candidates. But considering the extraordinary situation, BSY was made CM.
Trust his political acumen, BSY understands that while he was still is BJPs best person for the job and the tallest leader from Karnataka, his Party needs to evolve before 2023 by when a successor can deliver substantially. It is a decision that conveys that he cares for the future of the Party that he built. It also helps him settle his sons in state politics while he is the backbone of the Party in Karnataka.
With this resignation after exactly two years of being in office, I am guessing that all pre-planned riders agreed with the BJP top leadership.
The old always makes way for the new one. The stage is well set for a smooth leadership transition for BJP in Karnataka as the outgoing CM Yeddyurappa commits to the well being of the Party. BSY has seen it all and is too seasoned not to get carried away by the pseudo sympathies. There would be more heartburn when he would ignore these opportunists and carry himself with dignity even after retirement.