Basavaraj Bommai is Karnataka’s new chief minister
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) named 61-year-old Basavaraj Bommai as Karnataka’s new chief minister following the legislative party meeting at Bengaluru’s Capitol hotel on Tuesday evening.
Arun Singh, in charge of party affairs in Karnataka, and Central observers held the crucial meeting in Bengaluru. BJP’s parliamentary board had appointed Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and G Kishan Reddy as Central observers for selection of new leader.
Basavaraj Bommai was the home minister in Yediyurappa’s council of ministers, which was dissolved following the 78-year-old leader’s resignation as chief minister on Monday. Bommai is considered a close confidant of former chief minister BS Yediyurappa.
Son of former chief minister S R Bommai, Basavaraj Bommai started his political career with the Janata Dal and worked with senior leaders including HD Devegowda and Ramakrishna Hegde. He left the Janata Dal (United) and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in February 2008.
A graduate in mechanical engineering, Bommai was elected as a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council in 1998 and 2004 from Dharwad. He was thrice elected to Karnataka Legislative Assembly from the Shiggaon constituency in Haveri district in 2008, 2013 and 2018.
The selection of Bommai, who is from the Lingayat community, comes after several pontiffs from Lingayat mutts in the state had warned the BJP central command against removing Yediyurappa, a tall leader of the Lingayat community. The Lingayat community forms close to 16% of the state’s population and they have been a loyal vote base for the saffron party. Even though there were speculations that the BJP may appoint a leader from a different community, it eventually zeroed down on the Lingayat leader.
BS Yediyurappa resignation on Monday ended months of speculation following growing dissidence within the Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The 78-year-old leader made the announcement in an emotional speech at an event celebrating two years in power before submitting his resignation to governor Thaawarchand Gehlot.
“I’m not sad. I’m happy. I can’t thank in words PM Modi, Amit Shah, and JP Nadda for letting me be the chief minister even though I was over 75 years of age,” Yediyurappa said. “There is no question of political retirement for any reason, I’m with the karyakartas and the people.”