Game of Thrones: How BSY got his favourite Basavaraj Bommai the top post

Till Monday morning, it was a tight competition between two Lingayat leaders -- Basavaraj Bommai and Murugesh Nirani – for the post of Karnataka’s next chief minister.

Published: 28th July 2021 05:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th July 2021 09:20 AM   |  A+A-

Chief Minister-designate Basavaraj Bommai, along with BS Yediyurappa, prepare to address the media in Bengaluru on Tuesday | Vinod kumar T

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Till Monday morning, it was a tight competition between two Lingayat leaders -- Basavaraj Bommai and Murugesh Nirani – for the post of Karnataka’s next chief minister. But with outgoing chief minister BS Yediyurappa backing his favourite man in the cabinet, Bommai, for the top post, the BJP Legislature Party was quick to elect him as its leader and next CM.

Bommai’s elevation is being seen as Yediyurappa getting his way with the Central leadership in finding a successor. While other aspirants made multiple trips to New Delhi to lobby for the top post with the Central leadership, Bommai stayed put in the State and even denied reports of him being a candidate. TNIE on July 23 had reported that Bommai was emerging as the consensus candidate.

Even as Yediyurappa was putting his weight behind Bommai, the party Central leadership was considering Nirani, Arvind Bellad and CT Ravi for the top job. TNIE had learnt from credible sources that Bommai could be the favourite, given his experience in administration, and his proximity to Yediyurappa, central leadership and RSS representatives.

Bommai acceptable to Lingayat leaders

On Tuesday, the BJP Central leadership approved Bommai’s name, anticipating anger among Yediyurappa’s supporters. In May this year, TNIE had reported on how the party Central leadership was keen on an amicable transfer of power without antagonising Yediyurappa. Bommai’s candidature is part of that deal between Yediyurappa and Central leadership, party sources said.

A prominent Lingayat leader, Bommai is viewed as acceptable to community leaders who had asked the BJP to replace Yediyurappa with another Lingayat. Bommai with his familiarity with heavyweight portfolios like water resources, cooperation, home, law and parliamentary affairs, is seen as an experienced hand who can manage the crises of pandemic, floods and financial constraints that are wracking Karnataka.

“The tussle for leadership had finally narrowed down to Nirani, Bellad and Bommai as the party agreed to make someone from the Lingayat community as chief minister,” an aspirant told TNIE. Party sources said that Bommai is likely to complete the rest of the 21-month term of the BJP government, but the party will go to the next Assembly polls without naming a chief ministerial candidate.


  • BJP Parliamentary Board appoints observers for Legislature Party meet
  • BJP General Secretary, in charge of Karnataka, Arun Singh arrives in Bengaluru, meets 
  • BS Yediyurappa
  • Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Kishan Reddy arrive in Bengaluru as observers for LP meet
  • Pradhan and Reddy meet Yediyurappa at his residence
  • Bommai meets Yediyurappa at his residence
  • Bommai asked to visit Kumara Krupa Guesthouse to meet Pradhan and Reddy
  • MLAs arrive at a private hotel for LP meeting
  • Yediyurappa arrives with Pradhan
  • Yediyurappa proposes 
  • Bommai’s name for CM
  • Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol backs it
  • Bommai unanimously elected leader of BJP Legislature Party


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