Bengaluru, July 26: B S Yediyurappa announced his resignation as Karnataka Chief Minister on Monday as his government completes two years in office.
Ending months of speculation, Yediyurappa's exit comes as chaos reigned over the Karnataka BJP as the party was considering replacing the aging party leader, who belongs to the influential Lingayat community.
The past two years have been a political roller-coaster for the 78-year-old leader, who has had to fight dissidence within the party.
Yediyurappa had to fulfill his promise of rewarding the 16 MLAs who defected from the Congress-JD(S) coalition without offending the ‘native’ BJP leaders.
He also had to deal with some BJP leaders critical of his style of functioning. They alleged that his son, BJP state vice-president B Y Vijayendra, interfered in the administration. This, coupled with the BJP’s unwritten rule of asking its leaders to retire after 75 years of age, hung like a sword of Damocles over him.
Replacing Yediyurappa risks losing the support of Lingayats, the party’s largest vote bank. The party also hopes to win over the Vokkaligas, the other dominant community, to gain an edge over the JD(S) and Congress that are led by Vokkaligas H D Kumaraswamy and D K Shivakumar, respectively. Meanwhile, fresh demands are being made for a Dalit to be made the CM.
Further, while Yediyurappa is perceived as a ‘soft Hindutva’ ideologue, the BJP is said to be considering a hardliner backed by the RSS to become its face for the 2023 polls.