BENGALURU: On the day his government completed two years in office, BS Yediyurappa resigned as Karnataka chief minister on Monday. The 78-year-old BJP veteran leader announced his decision to resign from the top post with tears in his eyes and choking voice. On the elaborately decorated dais of Vidhana Soudha’s banquet hall where celebrations for his government’s second-year anniversary were being held, Yediyurappa gave a farewell speech, recalling his struggles and reminiscing on his hard work for the party, before stunning his supporters with the resignation bomb.
“I have decided to go to Raj Bhavan and submit my resignation as chief minister. I am not sad. I am happy that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda gave me two additional years despite breaching the 75-year-old cap. Words are not enough to thank them. I appeal that all of us work together to build the party,” he said at the end of his fiery and emotional speech, holding back tears.
With this, the four-time chief minister finally drew curtains on speculation over leadership change in the State. “At a time when there were no cars, I remember cycling to places on work for the party. I built the party when there was no one to do it,” he said, recalling his contribution to the party.
Despite being a four-time chief minister, Yediyurappa has held the post only for five years and two months in total. With his exit, the chorus from religious leaders, who have been backing the 78-year-old, to bring in a Lingayat leader as chief minister has grown louder.From Vidhana Soudha, Yediyurappa went straight to Raj Bhavan, where Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot wasted no time in accepting his two-line resignation letter, and issued a statement saying the council of ministers had been dissolved.
Rejig of govt on cards
A complete revamping of the government is on the cards with BJP inclined at appointing four deputy chief ministers to take care of caste and regional equations.“I resigned voluntarily. Nobody coerced me to quit. I have decided to work for the party, and I will not accept any decorative posts,” Yediyurappa asserted when asked if he would become the governor of a state.His claim of voluntary resignation is contradictory to the severe pushback he gave the BJP central leadership over the last few weeks.
The suspense over who will succeed him, however, continues. The BJP central leadership is expected to send an observer to Karnataka -- Dharmendra Pradhan perhaps -- to review the BJP Legislature Party meeting which is likely to be called on Wednesday or Thursday, where a new chief minister will be named. While he may have resigned as chief minister, Yediyurappa has refused to walk quietly into the sunset, insisting that he will continue to be in active politics and work for the party.
MORE THAN JUST TEARS
While the BJP has made efforts to deal with the supporters of outgoing CM BS Yediyurappa, clearly informing them to maintain party discipline, the leadership may not have factored in the raw anger in the Lingayat community. Nor did it factor in the effect of Yediyurappa’s tears on the community. This feeling was simmering for about a week, ever since talk began of Yediyurappa’s potential exit, and it exploded on social media on Monday.
HOW THE DRAMA UNFOLDED
June 6: BS Yediyurappa says he will resign from his post the day the BJP central leadership asks him to.
June 16-18: After many BJP leaders speak openly against Yediyurappa, BJP general secretary Arun Singh holds a series of meetings with party leaders in Bengaluru. He says action will be taken against those speaking against the CM.
July 16: Yediyurappa meets PM Narendra Modi.
July 17: Yediyurappa meets BJP national president JP Nadda, denies reports of his resignation.
July 20: Seers from Lingayat and other communities back Yediyurappa, warn BJP against leadership change.
July 22: Yediyurappa breaks silence, says the high command will send a message.
July 25: CM visits flood-hit areas in Belagavi, says he will abide by high command's directions. Yediyurappa hints that he will step down.
July 26: He announces resignation at a ceremony to mark two years of government, says there was no pressure from the high command.
July 26: Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot accepts Yediyurappa’s resignation, dissolves council of ministers. Yediyurappa to continue as chief minister till alternative arrangements are made.