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Short-tempered and a strict disciplinarian

For Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa, the ride to power has been slow but steady. BR Srikanth has the details.

india Updated: May 26, 2008 02:40 IST
BR Srikanth

Like every triumphant candidate, he too offered flowers to the portraits of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and Pandit Shyama Prasad Mukherjee at the BJP office. But on Sunday, Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa found himself swamped with more flowers than these renowned Bharatiya Jana Sangh leaders.

For Yeddyurappa, the ride to power has been slow but steady. Way back in 1972, he would be seen riding a bicycle garnering support for membership at a local body in Shikaripura. Soon, he was elected president of the local body. He was detained for a brief period during the 1975 internal emergency and was appointed state Janata Party secretary in 1977.

He enjoyed cycle rides around the town, but was cautioned against trying one this time. Reason: the bicycle was the symbol of his rival and former chief minister S. Bangarappa in Shikaripura constituency.

In 1983, he was elected for the first time to the legislative assembly from Shikaripura. His steady rise was best summed up by his colleague HN Ananth Kumar — “Twenty-one years ago, Yeddyurappa was the sole member of the state assembly with the party securing 26 per cent votes. Today, he has steered our party to victory and thus has an opportunity to serve the people. We projected him as the Chief Minister, and people have elected him as one”.

As for the leader himself, the first task ahead would be to secure support of at least three Independents (his party requires figure of 113 to form the new government) and lead the state on path of development. “I don’t want to comment about the past (his complaint of betrayal against Janata Dal(S) and the sympathy he tried to evoke among voters). The state’s development will figure at the top of our agenda and we will take the cooperation of all leaders. We will take steps to stop migration of youth from rural to urban areas,” Yeddyurappa said.

Known to be a strict disciplinarian and man of short temper, Yeddyurappa was born to Siddalingappa and Puttathayamma in Bookanakere in Mandya district, about 100 km from Bangalore on February 27, 1943. He has three daughters and two sons. None, however, are in politics.

He entered the Karnataka assembly for the first time in 1983 from Shikaripura constituency. He has won from there five times and lost once, in 1999. He was appointed All India Secretary of the BJP in 1992 and has been president of the state unit for two terms.

Yeddyurappa became deputy chief minister in Kumaraswamy ministry in February 2006 and held the Finance portfolio. His pro-farmer budget and decision to ban sale of lotteries and arrack earned him high accolades from several quarters.