Bommai’s selection as Karnataka CM shows Yediyurappa still holds sway

Chief Minister-designate Basavaraj Bommai makes his way to sit next to his predecessor B.S. Yediyurappa during an interaction with the media in Bengaluru on Tuesday   | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K.

The choice and the optics of the selection process of the new Chief Minister of Karnataka, Basavaraj Bommai, has only shown the continued relevance of B.S. Yediyurappa and the Veerashaiva-Lingayat vote bank he commands for the Bharatiya Janata Party. Some have even expressed fear that he might end up as the “shadow Chief Minister” because of this.

Besides, the three Deputy Chief Ministers are also likely to be key confidantes of Mr. Yediyurappa, making his stamp on the new government more emphatic.


Mr. Bommai has been identified as a key confidante of Mr. Yediyurappa from his first day in the saffron party. Though he did not quit the party and join the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) in 2012, he returned to the side of Mr. Yediyurappa once the veteran leader rejoined the party in 2014 and was known as his “man Friday” in the Cabinet that the veteran leader led till Monday.

The mobilisation of Lingayat support for Mr. Yediyurappa over the past one week forced the hand of the party high command to choose a Lingayat leader to replace him and placate him, party sources said. “The party could not risk antagonising the support of the Lingayat community and afford to be seen ill-treating its tall leader, as the community’s support is key to the BJP’s prospects in the State. The party had to placate Mr. Yediyurappa, and from among his confidantes the party chose a candidate with the most administrative experience,” a senior party leader said.


The BJP sees Mr. Yediyurappa as being relevant in the 2023 Assembly and 2024 parliamentary polls, sources added. The dissidents may have been successful in forcing Mr. Yediyurappa to quit as Chief Minister, but it seems they have not been able to make him “irrelevant”.

Deference to BSY

Through the process of selection, central observers and party leaders displayed complete deference to Mr. Yediyurappa. The party leaders briefed him of the choice on Tuesday evening, minutes after which Mr. Bommai dashed to his house and sought his blessings. An emotional Mr. Bommai even touched the feet of Mr. Yediyurappa.

Central observers and BJP State president Nalin Kumar Kateel acknowledged Mr. Yediyurappa’s contributions to the party, with the latter asserting, “Yediyurappa is a tall leader of the party. He will continue to guide both the party and the government.” Mr. Yediyurappa, rejecting reports of retirement or a gubernatorial post, has maintained that he would continue to be active in politics and work for the party.


Mr. Bommai said about Mr. Yediyurappa, “He is my political guru. I am blessed that he proposed my name. He will continue to guide us.” Mr. Yediyurappa was seen beaming through the process of selection.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 5:50:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bommais-selection-as-karnataka-cm-shows-yediyurappa-still-holds-sway/article35571951.ece

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