Putting to rest speculation that lasted a fortnight, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa submitted his resignation to Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot in Bengaluru on July 26, ending his fourth stint at the helm exactly two years after he took charge.
A communique from Raj Bhavan said that his resignation had been accepted.
Mr. Yediyurappa told reporters soon after emerging from Raj Bhavan, "I have happily resigned. The Governor has asked me to continue in the post till the next Chief Minister is appointed. The resignation is voluntary. I want to allow a chance to others to helm the government. There was no pressure. I had decided to resign two months ago."
The 78- year-old Chief Minister said that his successor will get full cooperation from his side.
The veteran leader expressed his gratitude to the people of Karnataka for allowing him to be the Chief Minister of the State four times.
This stint could well draw the curtains on his over four-decade-old political career during which he rose from the ranks of the RSS in Shikaripura in Shivamogga district in the Malnad region to become the Chief Minister of the State. The four-time CM is the tallest leader in the Lingayat community, which is among the biggest voter base for the saffron party in Karnataka.
Amid speculation over his replacement in the last 15 days, Mr. Yediyurappa's camp had tried to grab the Lingayat political optics as Lingayat -Veerashaiva seers and the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha rallied behind him, urging him to stay put while asking the BJP high command not to replace him.
When asked about speculation of him being appointed a Governor, Mr. Yediyurappa said, "There is no question of becoming a Governor. I will work for the party. Even when (late) Atal Bihari Vajpayee had asked me to join the Union Cabinet, I had declined."
Earlier, announcing his resignation at an event to mark two years in office, an emotionally charged Mr. Yediyurappa said, "I have decided to go to Raj Bhavan after lunch and hand over my resignation. This is not out of sadness, but out of happiness."
In an emotional speech during which he broke down a couple of times, the veteran leader, who had been under intense pressure to step down, said, "I am thankful to the high command. I am thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for having allowed me to continue in office for two years despite the rule of no power for those above 75 years."
He recalled his bumpy ride into the office of the Chief Minister for a fourth term, and obliquely expressed his displeasure towards the high command for tying his hand.
"I had to face a lot of challenges when I formed the government. The high command did not allow me to form the cabinet for one-and-a-half months despite flood and rains in Karnataka. I had to roam around like a mad man. Last one-and-a-half years, I had to fight COVID-19."
During a long speech at the Banquet Hall in Vidhan Soudha, he recalled the growth of the BJP in Karnataka and the efforts that he put in. He recalled going around for party work on a bicycle in the early days.