Backward class leader and hardcore RSS activist K S Eshwarappa was on Thursday unanimously elected BJP Karnataka unit President after which he resigned as Energy Minister in line with the party's 'one-man one-post' principle.
Eshwarappa met Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and handed over his resignation shortly after his election was announced by BJP National General Secretary V K Goel, also in-charge of party affairs in the state.
Eshwarappa was the only nomination filed for the post to which he had been brought back for the third time in a move seen as part of the BJP's strategy to widen its base among the backward class Kurubas, the third largest community after Lingayats and Vokaligas, to which he belongs.
Eshwarappa's election is also seen as an effort to counter the influence of opposition Congress leader Siddaramaiah, who wields considerable sway over Kurubas.
A senior state leader known for his aggressive style of functioning, Eshwarappa has had uneasy relationship with Yeddyurappa ahead of the Lok Sabha elections last year.
Coming out openly against dynastic politics, he had expressed reservations over Yeddyurappa's son B Y Raghavendra being nominated as the party's candidate from Shimoga.
Eshwarappa, who will have a three-year term, succeeds Sadananda Gowda, MP, whose term ended last year.
Yeddyurappa lauded the "good work" done by Eshwarappa as a minister and expressed confidence that he would lead the party to retain power in the next assembly elections due in 2012.