Yediyurappa made to exit as BJP, RSS want younger leader to take over in faction-ridden unit in Karnataka
Though BS Yediyurappa came to power four times, he has never completed a single term. BSY quit reluctantly as the party seems to have worked out his exit plans with minimum damage to the party
July 26 happened to be the second anniversary of Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa’s rule in Karnataka. But instead of a celebratory function, it turned out to be an occasion for a farewell speech after announcing his resignation. Though BSY, as he is known in the state, resisted pressure, the party had apparently decided that it was time for a younger leader to take over.
Yediyurappa is now 78 and well over the party’s prescribed age limit of 75 years to hold public office. He will not lead the party in the next Assembly polls in 2023, as he would be over 80 by then.
Incidentally, though he came to power four times, he has never completed a single term. BSY quit reluctantly as the party seems to have worked out his exit plans with minimum damage to the party.
As per reports, the RSS too wanted a younger leader to take over. Karnataka has produced many RSS leaders -- from late RSS chief K Sudarshan and Seshadri to present-day leaders like Dattatreya Hosbole, BL Santosh, and CR Mukund.
Yediyurappa has been an asset as well as a liability to the party. He is a shrewd manipulator who is adept at using age-old tricks of defection and lure of money.
In the 2017 polls, the BJP did not get a simple majority. To keep BJP out, the Congress and JD (Secular) formed a government with the J.D. (S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy as the chief minister. But Yediyurappa managed to pull down this government in 2019 and became the chief minister for the fourth time.
Yediyurappa is important for the BJP because there is no Lingayat leader to match his appeal in the state. Lingayats are the state’s single most significant community at 17 percent. Of the 500 mutts in the state, most are Lingayat mutts followed by Vokkaliga mutts.
The community can tilt the balance in as many as 90-100 of the state’s 224 assembly constituencies. The seers, who got solid support financially and otherwise from the chief minister, openly supported BSY.
Yediyurappa’s rise in Karnataka was checked 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).
With the chief minister drumming up support from the mighty Lingayats mutts, the BJP may not be able to ignore BSY completely as holding
Karnataka is critical for the party before 2023 Assembly polls or the 2024 General elections.
BSY’s successor may have a tough job ahead, taking everyone along in a state where factionalism always prevailed.
Views are personal