Bommai is chief minister of Yediyurappa’s cabinet

Despite Karnataka getting a new chief minister, all indications point towards the possibility that Yediyurappa is still the chief minister and Bommai his deputy as the newly formed cabinet has the former’s name written all over it.
Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai addresses media at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Wednesday. (PTI)
Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai addresses media at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Wednesday. (PTI)
Updated on Aug 05, 2021 01:09 AM IST
Copy Link
BySharan Poovana

Bengaluru When BS Yediyurappa’s vehicle first drove into the Raj Bhavan Glass house (where the swearing in ceremony was held), the joke going around was that the chief minister had arrived. And when Basavaraj Bommai’s vehicle came in a few minutes later, the reference was that the deputy chief minister has arrived.

Despite Karnataka getting a new chief minister, all indications point towards the possibility that Yediyurappa is still the chief minister and Bommai his deputy as the newly formed cabinet has the former’s name written all over it.

Yediyurappa, the 78-year-old who was forced to step down on July 26, had gone to extreme lengths not just to nominate his confidant Bommai as his replacement but also get all those he wanted into the newly inducted cabinet, including the turncoats who helped him to power in 2019.

Barring Srimant Patil and R Shankar, Bommai’s cabinet has most of the people who helped Yediyurappa come to power in 2019.

Yediyurappa has also bulldozed any possible consideration of his staunch critics--CP Yogeshwara, Basangagouda Patil (Yatnal) and Arvind Bellad--into the cabinet, demonstrating his ability to keep his critics under check.

On a specific question on the confusion that prevailed till the last minute of the cabinet formation, Bommai said, “There is no confusion, BJP is a national party. There is a confident government of the Prime Minister, guidance of Amit Shah, political astuteness of Nadda ji and the blessings of Yediyurappa. So there is no confusion.”

Bommai has met Yediyurappa on almost a daily basis since taking over, indicating that most of the directions were coming from the former CM, who, despite appearances and statements not to interfere, remains the one in command, people aware of the developments said.

“Our seniors have taken into account several issues and after our discussions with them, this decision has been taken. There is no question of anyone’s pressure,” Bommai reiterated.

Taking a dig at Bommai’s new cabinet, Priyank Kharge, Congress legislator and former minister tweeted on Wednesday, “Once again @BSYBJP shows PM @narendramodi & HM @AmitShah who is the boss. @BJP4Karnataka was expecting major churn & bring in a “Hosa BJP” for a “Hosa Karnataka”, this cabinet is just BSY ver2.0 with more bugs & glitches.” The Opposition had already termed Bommai as a ‘rubber stamp CM’.

Political analysts said that Yediyurappa never ceded control despite the show of stepping down and playing “loyal party worker”. Yediyurappa and his family were criticised for misusing their powers to keep dissidents in check and were accused of widespread corruption, which had played a part in the high command seeking the former’s exit.

But with Bommai as just an interim choice, Yediyurappa, people aware of the developments said, is forcing the BJP to continue to depend on the former chief minister to keep the support base of the Lingayats as well as help lead the party in the 2023 assembly elections.

One analyst, requesting anonymity, said that Yediyurappa had pitted the Mathas or monasteries against the BJP’s high command, making it harder for the local legislators to oppose these powerful institutions and their seers.

“Power has been decentralised in Karnataka,” said the political analyst, referring to the conditions where legislators are not likely to follow every order of the BJP’s central leadership but rather focus on holding on to power in their respective constituencies.

Yediyurappa has also forced a cold shoulder towards the core-BJP or persons who identify with the core ideology of the party, leaving them to fend for themselves once again.

The one thing that Yediyurappa could not manage yet is placating his son, BY Vijayendra, in the government. But with at least one seat vacant in Hangal, this may well be his next play to continue his legacy, which he was unwilling to surrender to the BJP’s national leadership.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, January 27, 2022