BENGALURU: Before he stepped on to the dais at Raj Bhavan to take oath as Chief Minister of Karnataka, Basavaraj Bommai touched BS Yediyurappa’s feet seeking blessings, signifying the important role the former CM played in getting him anointed as chief minister.Bommai, the 23rd person to hold the post, was sworn in as chief minister by Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot on Wednesday, amid slogans hailing Yediyurappa and him. The 61-year-old Bommai took oath in the name of God, even as Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Kishan Reddy, who were sent as observers by the BJP’s central leadership, looked pleased.
Much like his mentor Yediyurappa in 2019, Bommai took oath alone, with no deputies or ministers taking charge with him. On Wednesday morning, he visited a temple and headed straight to Yediyurappa’s residence before arriving at the Raj Bhavan for the swearing-in. Acknowledging that he would take Yediyurappa’s guidance for administration, Bommai categorically denied that he would be a ‘rubberstamp CM’.“I will, however, ensure that I get the people’s stamp of approval for my government’s administration and programmes,” he said with a smile when asked if he will continue to remain in the shadow of Yediyurappa.
“I will head to New Delhi to meet party senior leaders in the next couple of days and thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda. Discussions on cabinet expansion will be held after that. Senior central leaders will take a decision after deliberation,” Bommai told reporters after the swearing-in. No formula or names have been decided for the posts of deputy chief ministers or ministers, he said. In his first cabinet meeting with no council of ministers, Bommai announced a scholarship scheme exclusively for children of farmers.
Dump ‘chalta hai’ attitude, officials told
“Rs 1,000 crore will be set aside for the scheme, which will also cover higher education of students,” CM Bommai said.He increased the pension under the Sandhya Suraksha Yojana to Rs 1,200, while also enhancing it by Rs 200 for widows and differently-abled people. Warning officials against their “chalta hai” attitude which leads to delays in works, Bommai said his priority is managing Covid and the flood situation in the State.
Senior BJP leaders, including Modi, showered praises on Bommai, while being careful to thank Yediyurappa as well. “Congratulations to Shri @BSBommai Ji on taking oath as Karnataka’s CM. He brings with him rich legislative and administrative experience. I am confident he will build on the exceptional work done by our Government in the state. Best wishes for a fruitful tenure,” tweeted Modi on Bommai’s swearing-in. “No words will ever do justice to the monumental contribution of Shri @BSYBJP Ji towards our Party and for Karnataka’s growth. For decades, he toiled hard, travelled across all parts of Karnataka and struck a chord with people. He is admired for his commitment to social welfare,” Modi followed up with another tweet.
Amit Shah and Nadda too followed suit as if to insist that Yediyurappa’s role will now be limited to that of a guide which is what senior leaders like LK Advani have been restricted to as part of the party’s Margdarshak Mandal.
CM TO VISIT FLOOD-HIT AREAS IN UTTARA KANNADA TODAY
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will be visiting flood-hit areas in Uttara Kannada district on Thursday. Speaking to reporters after holding his first Cabinet meeting, after taking oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Wednesday, Bommai said that the State Government will come to the aid of people affected by floods and the Covid-19 pandemic.