Yeddyurappa: 7-days to 5 years rule in K'taka

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Bangalore, May 26: Bookanakere Sidalingappa Yeddyurappa, a born fighter, has struggled both within the party and outside to rise from the ranks of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) to lead the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power in Karnataka. His never-say-die attitude and the struggle for the welfare of farmers and relentless salvos, as the Leader of the Opposition, against the ruling parties in the state in the past had borne fruit for him to lead the new government of the BJP now, the first for the party down the Vindhyas.

His dream to become the Chief Minister of Karnataka ended in a fiasco in November 2007 as he emerged a 'Saath Din Ka Sultan,' following the Janata Dal (S) decision to pull the carpet from under his feet after assuring to support the government led by him. But now, instead of the 20 months as contracted with the JD(S) to form the coalition government, Yeddyurappa has a chance to lead the BJP government for a full five year term.

Entering the Assembly for a sixth term since 1983, Mr Yeddyurappa, as the Finance Minister during his Deputy Chief Ministership, reduced the interest rates of the cooperative loans to farmers to seven per cent and subsequently to four per cent, for the first time in the country. He had also relentlessly fought for the waiver of farm loans during his tenure as the Leader of the Opposition to mitigate the hardship faced by the farming community, especially in the predominantly rain-fed areas of the state.

Born in Bookanakere in K R Pet Taluk of Mandya District, the 66-year-old leader, started as a casual worker in the Public Works Department and had functioned as a volunteer of the RSS in the city. He was elected president of the Shikaripura Taluk Jan Sangh in 1972, making his debut in public life. Jailed during Emergency in Shimoga and Bellary, he was the Secretary of the BJP in 1977.

He exposed the food-for-work scam in 1980 and struggled to unchain bonded labourers and uphold the rights of unauthorised cultivators.

Yeddyurappa made his debut in the State Assembly in 1983 when he defeated the then Horticulture and Prisons Minister Yenkatappa of the Congress from Shikaripur. It proved to be a turning point in his public life and shaped his political career. He had won from the constituency subsequently in 1985 and 1989. He took over the reins of the state BJP as its president in 1988.

He functioned as Secretary, All India BJP, during 1992 and was elected to the Assembly for a fourth term in 1994 and functioned as the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

He became the President of the State unit for the second time in 1998. He lost in the 1999 Assembly elections and was elected to the Karnataka Legislative Council in 2000 and remained as MLC till 2004, when he came back to the State Assembly for a fifth term and became the Leader of the Opposition.

He had successfully led the BJP to emerge as the single largest party with 79 seats in the 2005 elections. The JD(S) with 58 seats chose to support the Congress, which had won 65 seats to form a Coalition Government.

Yeddyurappa became the Deputy Chief Minister in February 2006 after the JD(S) severed its ties with the Congress and formed a coalition with the BJP with H D Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister, pulling down the Congress-led Government. It was a contracted coalition with the two parties agreeing to swap the Chief Ministership after 20 months. However, at the end of its term, the BJP withdrew support to the Kumaraswamy Government in October last year, alleging that the JD(S) had failed to keep up its commitment to transfer power.

The State witnessed high political drama and the Assembly was kept under suspended animation before the JD(S) legislators in individual letters submitted to the government, agreed to support the BJP-led government.

But on the crucial day, when he was to prove his majority in the Assembly, it withdrew the support forcing Yeddyurappa to resign paving way for dissolution of the House.

UNI

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