New Delhi: Amid loud cheers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), B.S. Yeddyurappa was sworn in as the chief minister of Karnataka, over six years after his exit from the party on grounds of alleged ill-treatment by the BJP High Command.
Born on 27 February 1943, Yeddyurappa, after completing his pre-university college education from PES College, Mandya (equivalent to Grade 12), was appointed as a first-division clerk in the social welfare department. However, he soon moved to his current constituency, Shikaripura, where he joined as a clerk at a rice mill.
Yeddyurappa’s political journey began in 1970, when he was appointed as the Karyavaha (Secretary) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Shikaripura unit, and later elected to the Shikaripura Town Municipality and appointed as the President of the Taluk unit of the Jana Sangh.
In 1975, Yeddyurappa was elected President of the Town Municipality of Shikaripura, and later the President of the Shikaripura taluk unit of the BJP before he went on to become the president of the BJP’s Shimoga district unit in 1985. In 1988, he became the state president of the BJP in Karnataka.
Yeddyurappa was first elected to the lower house of the Karnataka Legislature in 1983 and has since represented the Shikaripura constituency six times. His first stint in power was when he helped Janata Dal (Secular) leader H. D. Kumaraswamy bring down the coalition government headed by Congress leader Dharam Singh and form an alternative government with the BJP.
Soon after, an agreement was made between the JD(S) and the BJP, which specified that Kumaraswamy would be the chief minister for the first 20 months, after which Yeddyurappa would take over for the remaining 20 months.
However, in October 2007, when it was Yeddyurappa’s turn to become chief minister, Kumaraswamy refused to relinquish his post, thus forcing the former and all the ministers from his party to resign, leading to the BJP’s withdrawal of support to the Kumaraswamy government.
The first BJP leader to become the chief minister of a Southern Indian state, Yeddyurappa has briefly held the office of chief minister for two terms prior to his current appointment, that is, from November 12 to 19, 2007, and from May 30, 2008, to July 31, 2011.
However, the Karnataka Lokayukta in 2011, while investigating the illegal mining case, submitted its report indicting Yeddyurappa for illegally profiteering from land deals in Bengaluru and Shivamogga, and also in connection with the illegal iron ore export scam in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts of Karnataka.
Following severe pressure from the BJP central leadership, Yeddyurappa announced his resignation on July 31, 2011, and subsequently, in 2012, resigned from his position as a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and primary membership of the BJP, while simultaneously launching his own party, the Karnataka Janata Paksha.
Yeddyurappa’s return to the BJP was announced first in 2013, but the actual merger of his party with the BJP took place in 2014, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, where he won from the Shivamogga by a stellar margin of 363,305 votes.
In 2016, the BJP re-appointed him as the President of the Karnataka BJP unit, and thereafter, as its chief minister candidate for the recently concluded assembly polls in the state.
Yeddyurappa, who contested the elections from Shikaripura for the seventh time, defeated Congress’ Goni Malatesha by a margin of 35,397, thus securing his seat.
Although the BJP fell short of the 112 seat margin by seven, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala invited the party to form the government in the state, with a 15-day period to prove their majority in the Assembly.
Thereafter, Vala on Thursday administered the oath of Yeddyurappa as the 23rd chief minister of Karnataka. (ANI)