Very few people withstand the test of time. From farming to heading the first BJP Government in South India, it has been a fascinating journey dotted with many struggles for Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa. Born to Siddalingappa and Puttathayamma in Bookanakere in Mandya district in Karnataka on February 27, 1943, he was named after presiding deity of a Shaivite temple built by the saint Siddalingeshwar at Yedeyur, in Tumkur district of Karnataka.
The 65-year-old BJP leader has risen above all odds to move up in life. He lost his mother when he was just four-year-old and his wife in 2004 but his determination to achieve big in life kept him in good stead to overcome such personal tragedies. Mr. Yeddyurappa is a graduate in arts and represents Shikaripur assembly constituency in Shimoga district.
In 1965, he got a job of a first-division clerk in the social welfare department but instead shifted to Shikaripur where he joined as a clerk at his relative’s rice mill. In 1967, Yeddyurappa married Mythradevi, the daughter of the owner of the rice mill Veerabhadra Shastri. He later set up a hardware shop in Shimoga.
Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is the 28th Chief Minister of Karnataka, was appointed as the secretary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) Shikaripur unit in 1970.
In two years, he was elected the president of taluk unit of Jan Sangh and Mr. Yeddyurappa’s political journey began when he was elected as the president of Shikaripur Town Municipality. The early lessons of leadership, development of mass base and personal management in RSS had given him confidence to put them in action when he decided to lead various movements concerning the landless farmers as well as bonded labourers.
His zealous attitude to take up common person’s issues was amply illustrated when he led a group of 1,700 bonded labourers to Shimoga Deputy Commissioner’s Office demanding the release and rehabilitation of such labourers. He also took up the cause of farmers, who were cultivating on government land and led a movement for upholding their rights.
This missionary zeal brought some sufferings too. He was imprisoned during Emergency in India between 1975 and 1977 and spent his days in Bellary and Shimoga jails.
Mr. Yeddyurappa’s true political career began when in 1983 he was first elected to the lower house of Karnataka Legislature and he has represented Shikaripur constituency from then on for five times. Earlier in 1980, he was appointed as the president of the Shikaripur unit of the BJP and later the president of Shimoga district unit of the BJP.
Mr. Yeddyurappa’s leadership skills were recognised by the central leadership of BJP and he was made the president of the state unit twice. He was also the national secretary in 1992.
The "yatri" in him is always at work. To improve the lives of marginalized, poor and gullible farmers, Mr. Yeddyurappa has taken up many yatras through the entire length and breadth of the State.
He led a Cycle Yatra, Sankalp Yatra, Save Gramrajya Yatra, Save Cauvery Yatra, and Bagarhukam Kisan Yatra, mainly to highlight the problems of farmers.