Yediyurappa takes over as chief minister, BJP big guns keep their distance
BJP’s B S Yediyurappa was sworn-in as the Karnataka Chief Minister for 4th time Friday evening, three days after the collapse of H D Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) government in a trust motion. Governor Vajubhai Vala administered him the oath of office and secrecy around 6:30 pm on Friday.
Before swearing-in, Yediyurappa visited Kadu Malleshwara temple in Bengaluru and addressed party workers. He wore a green shawl to his oath taking ceremony and was flanked by state BJP leaders.
Watch | BJP’s BS Yediyurappa takes oath as Karnataka CM for fourth time
Yediyurappa had earlier in the day staked claim and requested the Governor to be sworn-in Friday evening.
The BJP’s central leadership except for the party leader in-charge of Karnataka Muralidhar Rao skipped the ceremony that marks the return of the first BJP government in the southern state.
Senior BJP leaders had been reluctant to let BS Yeddyurappa stake claim to form the government and had held him off for two days. But the chief minister finally persuaded them after Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar disqualified three legislators last evening. The risk that the fear of being disqualified could embolden some of the Congress-JDS rebels to head back to their parties seemed real.
Yediyurappa last held the CM’s post for 3-days after May 2018 Assembly polls. He was then unable to prove his majority in the 225-member Assembly.
The current strength of the Assembly has come down to 222 after disqualification of 3 rebel Congress MLAs by Speaker Ramesh Kumar yesterday evening. Ramesh Kumar is yet to decide the fate of the remaining 14 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs.
BJP working president JP Nadda expressed confidence that Yediyurappa will provide a clean and stable government to Karnataka while dismissing questions over Yediyurappa’s age—the Lingayat leader is 76 years old--in the view of party’s own policy that discourages leaders to hold political office after turning 75.
“It depends,” Nadda said when asked about party’s age-bar and then added, “you see, first of all he is a leader, he is an elected leader of the legislature party. Accordingly, he is taking oath. It is a continuous process and the party takes note of ongoing developments from time to time.”
The Congress accused Yediyurappa of horse-trading in order to form his government. Former Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah also questioned the constitutionality of Karnataka Governor’s invitation for Yediyurappa to form government while slamming the BJP for turning Karnataka into an “experimental lab”.
The JD(S) also wondered how Yediyurappa with 105 BJP MLAs could claim to have the majority in a house with current strength of 222 MLAs.