With the arrest of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Saturday, the moral strength of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers has touched an all-time low. While his detractors in the party are heaving a sigh of relief, his followers are afraid of the fall out.

A relieved lot

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who is perceived as being remote-controlled by Mr. Yeddyurappa, will now get a free hand in administration, party sources told The Hindu . “Many loyal party leaders are relieved because outsiders have dominated the BJP all these days because of money and muscle power,” said a leader on condition of anonymity. “After his release, Mr. Yeddyurappa cannot aspire for power in view of his sullied image,” he said.

RSS member

Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is credited with installing the first BJP government in south India, began his political career as a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) where he honed his qualities of leadership and human resource management.

He began his political career as president of the Jan Sangh's Shikaripur taluk unit in 1972 and later become president of the Shikaripur Town Municipality. Mr. Yeddyurappa gained popularity by taking up people's issues, especially that of ‘bagair hukum' farmers. Born into a farmer's family at Bookankere in Mandya district, he led the movement seeking regularisation of ‘bagair hukum' cultivation successfully. He was imprisoned during the Emergency.

He was elected to the Legislative Assembly from BJP in 1983 from Shikaripur Assembly segment. Recognising his leadership qualities, he was made president of the State BJP unit twice and national secretary once. He was chosen Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly twice — in 1994 and 2004.

He lost the Assembly election from Shikaripur in 1999 and was later made an MLC.

He led several yatras to garner support for the party.

After a long wait for power, he joined hands with the Janata Dal (Secular) to bring down N. Dharam Singh-led coalition government and became the Finance Minister in the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led Government. When the JD(S) refused to keep its promise of transferring power after completion of the agreed term, the BJP was miffed and the coalition government collapsed. In the Assembly election that followed in 2008, he succeeded in bringing the BJP to power in the State.

Allegations

Once in power, he weathered many a storm, resisting attempts to oust him. Even before he completed two years as Chief Minister, he started facing allegations of nepotism and misuse of power. He is facing corruption charges for allegedly allotting prime land in Bangalore to his kin and denotifying land to favour a selected few.

Mr. Yeddyurappa has been indicted in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining. The indictment resulted in his resignation. However, it was a private complaint filed by two advocates that finally led to his arrest on Saturday.

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