CM of Karnataka four times, but Yediyurappa could not complete term even once

Some of the MLAs who switched over to the BJP in 2019. Despite emerging as the single largest party in the 2018 Assembly elections, the BJP came to power in Karnataka in July 2019 only after B.S. Yediyurappa persuaded 16 Congress and JD(S) MLAs to switch over to the saffron party.   | Photo Credit: K Murali Kumar

B.S. Yediyurappa, who holds the record for being the Chief Minister of Karnataka four times, the most for any CM, could not complete full term even once.

Two terms were short, as he failed to muster the support of adequate number of MLAs to sustain the government. But he failed to complete the other two terms due to bickering in his own party, which he built brick by brick in Karnataka.

BJP's mascot in south India
  • Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa
  • Born: February 27, 1943, in Bookanakere, Mandya district
  • Shifted to Shikaripur, Shivamogga district where he settled down

Ominous signs

A close look at the turn of events, particularly in the last two years, shows that there was a clear indication of him not completing the term this time too as the gulf between him and the party cadre as well as the high command had begun widening from the very start. Also the past mistakes, particularly with respect to administration, continued this time too, with his own partymen levelling allegations of corruption and nepotism.

Early career
  • Was associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh from the mid-1960s and was elected karyavah (Shikaripur) in 1970
  • 1972: Made his political debut. Elected to Shikaripur Town Municipal Council and made president of the Shikaripur unit of Jan Sangh
  • 1975: Elected president of Shikaripur Town Municipal Council; arrested during Emergency

But unlike his previous stint when he had stepped down unceremoniously following a report on illegal mining, the 78-year-old Mr. Yediyurappa had a honourable exit this time.

The five-decade political saga of Mr. Yediyurappa, who began his public life as president of Shikaripur taluk unit of the then Jan Sangh in 1972, was marked by constant struggle and firefighting. Despite endearing himself to party workers and occupying prominent posts, like Leader of the Opposition, president of the party’s State unit and Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Yediyurappa had not emerged strongly in the State’s political spectrum till 2008.

Role of JD(S) in BJP’s rise

The failure by coalition partner JD(S) to transfer power to the BJP in 2008 changed the political fortunes of the BJP as well as Mr. Yediyurappa. The party’s campaign led by Mr. Yediyurappa on the theme of ‘deception’ by the JD(S) was not only received well by people, but also elevated the political stature of Mr. Yediyurappa and turned him into a towering Lingayat leader.

  • 1985: Appointed president of Karnataka unit of BJP; has held the post for four terms since then, including his most recent stint during 2016-2019
  • 2012: Broke away from the BJP and formed Karnataka Janata Party; won six seats and 11% vote share, reducing the BJP to 40 seats in the 2013 Assembly elections
  • 2013: Announced unconditional support for the candidature of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister
  • 2014: Rejoined BJP

But despite making a quantum jump in terms of seats won by the party, it marginally fell short of the majority mark. That’s when Mr. Yediyurappa resorted to the controversial strategy of getting several opposition MLAs to quit their Assembly membership and re-contest on the BJP ticket that was codenamed ‘Operation Kamala’.

Though it helped Mr. Yediyurappa fulfil the arithmetic requirement and form the first-ever BJP government in a southern State, the strategy boomeranged on him as the ‘outsiders’ were seen as more loyal to him rather than the party. Finally, he was surrounded by a coterie of his supporters.

Allegations of corruption and various scandals coincided with allegations by the opposition that a huge amount of money was spent on ‘Operation Kamala’, a charge constantly denied by Mr. Yediyurappa and the party.

History repeats itself

Career as legislator
  • Elected to the Assembly from Shikaripur (BJP) in 1983. He went on to win seven times; lost the constituency once in 1999
  • Represented Shivamogga in the Lok Sabha during 2014-18
  • Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly for three terms: 1994-96, 2004-06, 2018
  • 19
  • Deputy Chief Minister under H.D. Kumaraswamy in the BJP-JD(S) coalition government in 2006-07
  • Presented Budget eight times

Chief Minister of Karnataka for four terms
  • November 12 to 19, 2007
  • May 30, 2008 to July 31, 2011
  • May 17 to 19, 2018
  • July 26, 2019 to July 26, 2021

In the 2018 Assembly elections, BJP again fell short of a majority. Once Congress and JD(S) cobbled together a coalition and formed the government, Mr. Yediyurappa again took a recourse to ‘Operation Kamala’. He persuaded 16 MLAs from the opposition to quit and managed to catapult the BJP to power in 2019. This paved the way for a repeat of history as the party’s old guards again raised the banner of revolt after missing out on ministerial berths. Also, Mr. Yediyurappa’s fourth stint in power was marked by alleged interference in the administration by his younger son B.Y. Vijayendra, which rubbed many the wrong way.

It now appears that what is often called ‘subversion of democracy’ in the form of ‘Operation Kamala’ was the origin of troubles for the BJP stalwart who had to step down despite taking the party to its peak in Karnataka.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 10:08:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/cm-of-karnataka-four-times-but-yediyurappa-could-not-complete-term-even-once/article35537895.ece

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