Bengaluru: In the tussle between Delhi and Bengaluru over who should lead Karnataka, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa Monday blinked first and put in his papers drenched in tears.
He announced his resignation at a function marking his two years in office. In an emotional speech, the 78-year-old BJP leader and Lingayat strongman broke down multiple times saying that he had to go through ‘agni pareeksha’ – an obvious reference to the charges and taunts made against him by a handful of detractors.
But he made it amply clear that he was not stepping down under pressure. “Nobody has asked me to resign. I am resigning on my own so that a younger CM can take office. I am grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda for allowing me to complete two years in office,” he said.
The four-time CM who never completed a full term in office, will continue to be a caretaker CM till a nominee is named. Asked about this, he said Delhi will decide.
But in a strange statement, the man who built the BJP in Karnataka from scratch, warned his colleagues that people have lost their faith in the government. Even his closest aides could not decipher what exactly he meant; that’s Yediyurappa – a man who speaks wrapping mystery in his words.
Ahead of his resignation, Yediyurappa said, “I have a debt to pay back to the people of Karnataka. I ask officers and MLAs that people have lost trust in all of us. We should work harder and in a clean and honest way. Many officials are honest. All should become that. Bangalore is being developed into a world-class city.”
After submitting his resignation, he said he will continue to work for the party though he did not make it clear in what capacity.
BSY’s resignation has put a question mark on the MLAs who crossed over from the Congress and JD(S) to help the BJP come to power. They are solidly behind Yediyurappa, as are many MLAs whom he nurtured. His supporters in the party and Assembly will form a solid block and the new CM will have to do a fine balancing act before the state heads for polls in 2023.
Yediyurappa and corruption had almost become synonymous according to his detractors. His trusted son BY Vijayendra acted as an extra constitutional authority and was known to demand money for any project or work to go through.
All eyes are now on Delhi as the highcommand gears up to announce a successor. In the race are BL Santosh, BJP national secretary, Murugesh Nirani an industrialist-turned minister, CT Ravi a Vokaliga leader, Basavaraj Bommai, home minister and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahalad Joshi.
But the BJP leadership may spring a last-minute surprise. Surprise or no surprise, the leadership will have to please the Lingayats and Vokaligas – the two dominant communities that can decide on who will enter the Vidhana Soudha – the State Assembly.