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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Karnataka election results 2018: Yeddyurappa back in the reckoning for CM

After the BJP emerged as the single largest party just short of a majority, BS Yeddyurappa appeared within a striking distance of the Karnataka chief minister’s post.

india Updated: May 16, 2018 07:56 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BJP's chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa talks to media after Karnataka election results, in Bengaluru.
BJP's chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa talks to media after Karnataka election results, in Bengaluru.(PTI Photo)
         

Shimoga MP BS Yeddyurappa turned 75 on February 27, crossing the undeclared age-bar in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its leader to hold a ministerial position.

But, BSY, as the Lingayat strongman is known in Karnataka, was too big a heavyweight for the party to invoke such a rule and edge him out of the race for the top post.

On Tuesday, as the BJP emerged as the single largest party just short of a majority, BSY appeared within a striking distance of the chief minister’s post. This hasn’t come easy to him. He had won the Lok Sabha election from Karnataka and was expecting to get a ministerial position in the Narendra Modi government.

He missed the bus, and took months to recover from the setback. He was convinced through a set of loyalists that it was not the end of the road for him.

Denied a job in Delhi, he turned his focus to Karnataka, only to deal with factionalism in the state BJP and chief ministerial ambitions of about half a dozen colleagues. The struggle continued and BSY kept convincing party leadership’s that he needed to be in control of the situation in Karnataka to win the state.

The first milestone was crossed in April 2016 when the BJP decided to appoint him the president of Karnataka BJP.

A few months later, in October, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court cleared him in a corruption case.

It was a huge relief for BSY and the BJP, which had by then started contemplating appointing him the CM candidate. A formal announcement was made in May 2017. Born in a modest family from the Vokkaliga-dominated Mandya district, the former rice-mill worker in Shimoga is credited with shaping the Bharatiya Janata Party into what it is today in Karnataka. Yeddyurappa has risen from the ranks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – the BJP’s ideological mentor – and has been a seven-term member of the Karnataka assembly between 1983 and 2013.

He had a meteoric rise in the Karnataka BJP before having a run in with party veteran LK Advani in 2011 in the wake of a land scam that cost him the chief minister’s job. He walked out of the BJP in 2012 to float his outfit, the Karnataka Janta Paksha (KJP), which dealt a severe blow to his former party in the 2013 assembly elections. The KJP polled about 10% votes and caused the BJP’s defeat in over 30 seats. He was back in the BJP ahead of elections in 2014.