BSY joins BJP's Margadharshak Mandal
B. ARAVINDA SHETTY
Bengaluru: Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa, once a mascot of BJP in South India, has ended his long-standing ‘controversial’ political career and joined the loop of the party’s ‘Margadharshak Mandal’.
He was the only leader in BJP given position (CM post) even after crossing the age of 75 years, which was against the party rule of not giving positions to the leaders who crossed 75 years.
Considering his popularity in the masses and contribution to party growth in Karnataka, Modi and Amit Shah allowed him to continue in the CM post for two years even after he crossed 75 years of age.
His five-decade struggle full political career has many ups and downs. He was the only Chief Minister of Karnataka who comes from grassroots-level politics. He started his political career as a Town municipal member of Shikaripura in 1972 and entered Legislative Assembly in 1982.
Since then, he has never take a rest in public life. But his growth in the party was not a smooth affair, and he fought with his rivals to get positions in the party.
His aggressive fighting spirit, quick connecting with people and taking an issue to a logical end made him popular in the party and draw the attention of BJP central leaders, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani.
He was the leader who not only installed first-ever BJP government in South India but also resorted to illegal means to bring the party to power in 2008. The infamous operation lotus has uprooted the very foundation of parliamentary democracy and was defeated the very purpose of the 10th schedule of the Indian Constitution and Anti defection law.
He has continued operation lotus to become the Chief Minister in 2019 by making the resignation of 17 Congress and JD(S) MLAs. In two occasions( 2008 and 2019), Mr. Yediyurappa manufactured the mandate to become the Chief Minister. His invention of operation lotus later extended across the country.
During his first term as the Chief Minister from 2008 to 2011, illegal mining was rampant in the state. His association with the Bellary Reddy brothers to bring BJP government in 2008 was dented the state image at the National level. Because of his tacit understanding with mine barons, he served brief judicial custody in illegal mining and land-related corruption. He was the first BJP chief minister to serve the jail sentence.
His lifetime ambition was to become the Chief Minister and attain CM post he opted illegal means of operation lotus by the wholesale purchase of opposition party MLAs.
Decided to quit BJP in 2005
Fed up with ‘torture’ given by then Union minister Ananthkumar, Mr. Yediyurappa has decided to join JD(S) along with his loyalist Shobha Karandlaje in 2005. Expressed his willingness with former Prime Minister H.D Devegowda to join JDS), requested him to make minister in Dharam Singh cabinet.
However, in 2006 luck has turned in favour of Yediyurappa. JD(S)- BJP coalition government came to power headed by H.D.Kumaraswamy, in that government, Mr. Yediyurappa was the deputy Chief Minister. According to the 20:20 formula, after 20 months, Mr. Kumaraswamy was suppose to transfer the power to BJP, but after the completion of 20 months, Mr Kumaraswamy was broke his promise and refused to transfer the power to Yediyurappa. Despite, he agreed to transfer power to BSY following the pressure of his party MLAs, the Yediyurappa government was collapsed 7 days after he takes the oath following JD(S) refused to support BSY, he has been forced to resign to cm post. President rule was imposed in the state in 2007.
JD(S) decision of not transferring power to BJP helps the party come to power in the 2008 Assembly elections. Chief Minister candidate Yediyurappa led the party from the front and was able to secure 110 seats and fall short of 3 seats for simple majority. With the help of five Independents, Mr. Yediyurappa formed the government and but was caught in corruption charges in illegal mining and land-related corruption cases. Resigned to CM post in 2011.
Dictate terms with party high command
Though he resigned after Lokayukta indicted him in corruption charges, Mr. Yediyurappa dictated terms with party high command. Mr. Yediyurappa dictates the terms with the party high command about whom should become Chief Minister. More than 70 party MLAs have rallied behind him, because of his grip over the party, he has been able to choose D.V. Sadananda Gowda for CM post during internal voting in BJPLP meeting. BSY candidate Mr. Gowda was defeated, party candidate Jagadish Shettar for BJPLP leader post.
After serving a jail sentence, Mr. Yediyurappa again campaigned for the removal of Mr. Gowda from CM post, by convincing party high command he appointed Mr. Shettar for CM post. Following his differences with party high command, he resigned to BJP and formed his own political outfit KJP.
BSY formed KJP
He formed Karnataka Janatha Paksha, toured extensively in the state in the 2013 Assembly elections. He openly challenged his parent party BJP that he would quit the politics if BJP crosses 50 seats in the elections, he proved his challenge and restricted BJP into 40 seats, pushing the third position in the Assembly. His break away from BJP helps Congress to come to power. Spilt of BJP votes has helped the Congress to win 122 seats, Mr. Siddaramaiah become the Chief Minister in 2013.
Read: BJP central leadership executes smooth exit of Yediyurappa
Later Mr. Yediyurappa tried hard to return BJP fold, he lobbied hard to return BJP. Persuaded Narendra Modi to return party fold. Despite of strong opposition from the party-state unit, especially from Ananth Kumar, Mr. Yediyurappa returned to BJP just six months before the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 In 2014 He returned to BJP, contested for Lok Sabha elections from Shivamogga Lok Sabha constituency. He has helped the party to win 19 Lok Sabha seats.
In April 2016, the BJP central leadership has appointed him as BJP state President and projected him as party CM candidate for 2018 Assembly elections. This announcement from then BJP National President Amit Shah did not go well with party state leaders. But they have accepted the decision.
From 2016 to 2018, he toured extensively in the state, highlighted the misdeeds of the Siddaramaiah government. In the 2018 Assembly elections, he has managed to bring 104 seats, fall short of 9 seats for a simple majority. Though he has taken oath as CM, but resigned after three days failing to prove the majority on the floor.
But in 2019, he was behind in the engineering defection of 17 Congress and JD(S) MLAs through operation louts and became the Chief Minister.
BJP high command humiliated BSY
But after much dillydallying, the BJP high command has given a green signal for him to take the oath. Again party central leadership has made him to wait for two months for Cabinet expansion. Further party central leadership humiliated him by instructed to induct three deputy chief ministers. Without discussing him party central leadership has appointed Nalin Kumar as party state unit chief. In two years, BJP central leadership has taken a unilateral decision in choosing Rajya Sabha members. Even for the selection of the members to the Legislative Council, party central leadership has taken unilateral decisions.
His resignation also, BJP central leadership has tactfully executed his smooth exit by convincing his age factor. His exit from CM post will begin a new chapter for State BJP in Karnataka. Party has a big challenge to choose and groom the lingayat leader to keep intact its Lingayat vote bank. Nevertheless, BSY cannot be ignored in Karnataka politics for his controversial and stubborn political career.