BS Yeddyurappa, the master survivor grounded by mining scam

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BS Yeddyurappa
Bangalore, July 28: From a rice mill clerk and a farmers' leader to heading the first BJP Government in the South, B S Yeddyurappa has been a master survivor emerging unscathed through much turbulence in his three years in office before the Lokayukta report on illegal mining scam did him in.

Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa (68), who completed three years and two months in office as the first saffron party chief minister of Karnataka, ushered in a bumper harvest for the BJP in the state during the 2008 Assembly Elections.

Always sporting his trademark white safari suit, he was also briefly the Chief Minister in November 2007 before the coalition government with JD(S) collapsed following what he called "betrayal" by its leader and his predecessor H D Kumaraswamy.

Yeddyurappa, who had to juggle with one crisis or the other, has shown his skills as a political survivor, overcoming adversities emanating from within his own party and the combined Congress-JD(S) onslaught to oust him over alleged land scams.

Learning initial steps of leadership, development of mass base and human resource management from the RSS, it has been a fascinating journey dotted with many struggles for the devout Lingayat who believed that the gods are on his side.

He went on to apply these pragmatic lessons in action when he decided to lead various mass movements in the state, highlighting the problems faced by landless farmers and bonded labourers.

Yeddyurappa never misses an opportunity to visit temples when he is confronted by crisis but he was not lucky this time after he was severely indicted by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde on corruption charges. He was named after presiding deity of a Shaivite temple built by the saint Siddalingeshwar at Yedeyur, in Tumkur district.

On a couple of occasions before his fate was almost sealed but Yeddyurappa had the last laugh as he battled a spate of allegations of multi-crore land scams, nepotism and open violation of rules to favour his kith and kin. 

Yeddyurappa managed to rally round his party MPs and loyalists after remaining defiant and keeping the top brass guessing on his moves when he was once asked to resign by the BJP leadership.

Yeddyurappa, whose end as chief minister once seemed almost certain, with a smug opposition and his detractors within the party triumphant over delivering what they believed were deadly blows, has managed to carry the day with the party asking him to stay on.

A graduate in arts, Yeddyurappa once warned the central leadership that his exit would mean the end of the party government as well, a threat which made the senior leaders to do a rethink on their decision before to ask him to quit.

Sometimes. he also brought out an ace up his sleeve, the Lingayat caste card.

He belongs to the Lingayat community which constitute nearly a fifth of the population in Karnataka and also a strong support base for the BJP. He also managed to rally influential seers around him, and got them to support him.

In November 2010, Yeddyurappa was alleged to have used his position as Chief Minister to unfairly favour his sons in the allotment of prime land in Bangalore triggering another round of crisis. On February 5, 2011, Yeddyurappa publicly declared his assets, and then challenged the opposition and the Congress to find any "black money"

Yeddyurappa, who began his rule on sticky wicket in May 2008 falling short of a majority in the Assembly, cobbled up a slender majority by luring opposition MLAs and independents who were made to resign and contest bypolls.

His gambit called ''Operation Lotus'' paid off in enabling the BJP to secure the majority in the 224-member House.

But the troubles did not seem to die down with the powerful Reddy brothers, ministers and mining magnates -- Janardhana and Karunakara -- launching a campaign for his removal.

The BJP High Command's intervention ensured his survival before another wave of dissidence engulfed his government.

PTI

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