INDIA. Mumbai: Basavaraj Bommai, is all set to become the new Chief Minister of Karnataka, the southern Indian state, after his predecessor, four-time CM, BS Yediyurappa stepped down ending weeks of uncertainty on Monday.
The name of 61-year-old Bommai, who had been Home Minister in the Yediyurappa cabinet, was cleared in a meeting of the BJP legislature party in Bengaluru on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by BJP general secretary and in-charge of Karnataka G Kishan Reddy, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Karnataka BJP president Nalin Kumar Katil, former chief minister Yediyurappa, and other senior leaders of the state.
During the meeting, Bommai’s name was proposed by Yediyurappa and seconded by Karjol Ashok Eshwarappa and all BJP MLAs. Just like Yediyurappa, the new chief minister is also from the politically influential Lingayat community. Bommai met Governor on Tuesday evening to stake a claim to form the government. He is scheduled to take oath at 11 am at the Raj Bhavan, on Wednesday.
Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was one of the central observers sent by the BJP to Karnataka, congratulated Bommai in a series of tweets and said he was elected unanimously by the BJP MLAs.
“Heartiest congratulations to Shri BS Bommai on being elected as the new chief minister of Karnataka. A unanimous choice, he was elected as the leader of the legislative party of Karnataka BJP in the presence of Shri BS Yediyurappa, Arun Singh, and other senior party functionaries,” he tweeted.
In another tweet, he wrote, “One of the main architects of a first-ever @BJP4India government in South India, Shri BS Yediyurappa leaves behind a lasting legacy. Compliments to him for prioritizing the welfare of Karnataka. Wishing him the best in his endeavours to strengthen the party and serve the people of Karnataka.”.
According to BJP sources, there is a consensus on having three deputy chief ministers in the new government in Karnataka. R Ashoka (from Vokkaliga community), Govind Karjol (from the Scheduled Caste), and Sriramalu (from the Scheduled Tribes) are probable candidates.
Bommai is a close confidante of Yediyurappa and hails from the ‘Janata Pariwar’. His father late SR Bommai was the Karnataka CM from August 13, 1988, to April 21, 1989. He was also the union minister in the then H D Devegowda Government. He joined the BJP in 2008 rose in the party ranks.
A graduate in mechanical engineering, Bommai began his professional career with the Tata group. He started politics with the Janata Dal. He was twice elected to the Karnataka Legislative Council from Dharwad in 1998 and 2004. After that, he left Janata Dal and joined BJP in 2008. In the same year, he was elected as an MLA from Shiggaon in the Haveri district.
Before resigning, the 78-year-old Yediyurappa had put certain conditions before the BJP high command. They included: his MP son BS Raghvendra be inducted into the Central cabinet. His other son BS Vijendra be inducted into the forthcoming new Karnataka cabinet and the new Karnataka CM be selected with his consent. He had suggested Bommai’s name to the BJP high command even before he resigned.
Yediyurappa came to power in 2019 when the Congress-backed Karnataka Government lost its majority. The 2018 Karnataka assembly elections had returned a split verdict — the BJP was the single largest party with 104 seats, the Congress won 80, and the JD(S) 37 in the 224-member house. Yeddyurappa was invited to form the government but the Congress and the JD(S) joined hands to keep the BJP out of power, forcing him to resign before the trust vote on the floor of the House. However, on July 23, 2019, H.D. Kumaraswamy’s Congress-JD(S) coalition govt lost the trust vote 105 to 99, since the BJP allegedly lured away 17 MLAs from both Congress and JD(S), to form its government under Yediyurappa.
Why Yediyurappa resigned?
Just after one year into his governance, Yediyurappa started facing dissidence within the party. BJP MLAs including Arvind Bellad and Basanagouda Patil Yatnal openly issued statements against him. The COVID-19 crisis also amounted to charges of mismanagement. Yediyurappa’s son BY Vijayendra was accused of running the government from behind the scenes. By June 2021, the central leadership of the BJP started looking for a replacement. After over 30 days of speculation and denial, Yediyurappa stepped down on the day he celebrated two years of his governance on Monday.
Of the 22 chief ministers in Karnataka so far, only three-S Nijalingappa (1962-68), D Devaraja Urs (1972-77) and Siddaramaiah (2013-2018) were able to serve their full term. Yediyurappa held the post for 1,901 days spread across four different tenures. On as many as nine occasions, chief ministers could not even complete a year in office.