After Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala's invitation to form the government, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader BS Yeddyurappa on Thursday took oath as the Chief Minister of the southern state for the third time.
Yeddyurappa, who had once broken away from the BJP in the 2013 general elections and ended up splitting the BJP vote and paved the way for Congress to return to power, was welcomed back into the BJP and entrusted with the job of conquering Karnataka.
Pushing 75, Yeddyurappa is still a bundle of energy that was very much in play as all through the months preceding the general elections toured the length and breadth of Karnataka on a parivartan yatra, whipping up passions in favour of the BJP, preparing for the onslaught against the Congress government led by Siddaramaiah.
Even if Siddaramaiah was seemingly slighted by the central leadership that snubbed him and denied a ticket to his son in the 2018 general elections, he let it pass and the practical politician in him concentrated on the job at hand – wresting Karnataka from the Congress and making the state the gateway to South India ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Yeddyurappa, hailing from the sugar belt of Mandya that has also seen the highest number of suicides by the farmers, was educated in Bangalore. Born on February 27, 1943 in his native village of Bookanakere village, Krishnarajpet taluk of Mandya district to the farmer couple -- Siddalingappa, and Puttatayamma, Yeddyurappa launched his career in politics on the strength of his powerful oratory and articulation.
As a teenager, he was influenced by the RSS and joined the Shaka and his initial assignment was at Shimoga, way back in 1965. Later on he rose up the ranks and became the Sangha Karyavahaka at Shikaripura taluk of Shimoga district. Incidentally Shikaripura is the constituency Yeddyurappa represents in the new assembly as well.
From here to becoming a town municipality member in 1975 was only logical progression of this politically active youngster. In two years, he was elected the Janatha party president and later was elected to the Karnataka legislative assembly for four consecutive terms.
Yeddyurappa became the state BJP president in 1988 and late for the second term in 1998-99 and rose to become the national secretary of the BJP in 1992. In 2000-2004 he was elected as the member of the legislative council.
He then became the 19th chief minister of Karnataka but was evicted from the post due to allegations of corruption that later were found to be debatable. He also had to face a jail term after the Lokayukta so decreed in corruption cases against him. For this once-upon a time first division clerk in the state government’s social welfare wing, it has been such a journey to become the chief minister. After quitting the government job, he came to Shikaripura where he met his future wife, the daughter of a mill owner and his life changed.
Even in college, Yeddyurappa was involved with RSS activities and he became the chief of the head of the Shikaripura unit of RSS in 1970. This was the first step in public service that would eventually take him to the chief minister’s post. From here, he became the member of Shikaripura municipality in 1975. He was among the opposition politicians in emergency and later in 1980 he was made the chief of the BJP unit in Shikaripura and progressed onto become the president of Karnataka unit of the party in 1988.
Along with this, he was also elected to the Karnataka legislature, six times representing the Shikaripura constituency. He was a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly through the seventh, thirteenth, eighth, ninth, tenth and twelfth Legislative Assemblies. After a short-lived experiment with a coalition government with JD (S) in 2006, as per which Yeddyurappa was to become CM in 2008. But since HD Kumaraswamy refused to honour the agreement acrimony ensued.
In the assembly elections in 2008, Yeddyurappa won the majority and formed the first BJP government on its own – leading the BJP to a historic win in Karnataka. But, his role as the CM was not free of scams. There were allegations that he misused his power to get the prime real estate in Bangalore, among other allegations.
The Karnataka Lokayukta report of mine scam, land scam by misusing his powers as CM to get land allotted unfairly in Bangalore and Shimoga drew curtains on his chief ministerial stint in 2011.
It was then that Yeddyurappa broke away from the party in the ensuing elections in 2013 and ensured that the BJP got defeated. His party, in fact, ended up fourth. But after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed the office of the Prime Minister, Yeddyurappa returned to the party and was given pride of place.
For the 2018 assembly elections, the BJP had declared him as the Chief Ministerial candidate, as he brought to the table considerable clout of the Lingayat community behind the BJP. And the results of the 2018 elections proved that if Yeddyurappa was the wrecker-in-chief of BJP chances in 2013, this time around the Lingayat leader was the person who brought the BJP very close to the magic number.