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Basavaraj Bommai to be next Karnataka CM; BSY confidant, Lingayat face to be sworn-in on Wednesday

·5 min read

The political drama in Karnataka has ended.

The BJP party legislature has named 61-year-old Basavaraj Bommai as the next chief minister of Karnataka. Bommai's swearing-in ceremony will take place tomorrow at 11 am, according to PTI.

That, Tuesday's meet, which occurred at a private hotel in Bengaluru under the watchful eyes of central observers and Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and G Krishan Reddy, ended with the elevation of the former state home minister to the top post in Karnataka is unsurprising.

After all, Bommai was the front-runner after the resignation of BS Yediyurappa €" the BJP's first and only chief minister in the south thus far and the party's face in Karnataka for decades €" given his proximity to the outgoing chief minister, the party's central leadership and the RSS.

A slew of names including Union minister Pralhad Joshi, BJP national general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh, BJP general secretary CT Ravi, Karnataka BJP MLA Arvind Bellad and Vijayapura City BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal were doing the rounds for the top post.

But on Tuesday evening, Pradhan announced that Bommai had been chosen for the top job in the state.

"The party has given this responsibility to Bommai who is very experienced and a senior party member," he said. "I am confident he will carry forward the programmes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi."

Even as Bommai was elevated, Pradhan offered kind word for the outgoing chief minister. "BS Yediyurappa will continue to guide us," Pradhan said.

The caretaker chief minister for his part on Monday made all the right noises, saying he was resigning not out of grief, but with happiness and that he will continue to work with the new chief minister.

He also assured that he and his supporters shall give their 100 percent to whoever will become the next chief minister.

"We will work under whoever has been selected as the new chief minister by the (BJP) high command. I will give my 100 percent and my supporters will also give their 100 percent. There is no need to make any inference of dissatisfaction," Yediyurappa said.

"I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah for allowing me to continue even after 75 years of age. I will be involved in party building activities in future," a teary-eyed Yediyurappa added.

"Nobody pressurised me to resign. I did it on my own so that someone else can take over as chief minister after the completion of two years of government. I'll work to bring BJP back in power in the next election."

While Bommai's appointment puts an end to the simmering tension over leadership issues in Karnataka, it remains to be seen whether replacing Yediyurappa €" against whom resentment within the party grew so much that the issue reached New Delhi €" will solve the BJP's problems in the state.

But for Yediyurappa, it seems that time indeed is a flat circle what with his tenure being cut short after ascending to power exactly two years ago in the aftermath of a murky legal battle and weeks of political drama.

Despite his impressive performance and hard work to expand the BJP in the south, never has Yediyurappa been able to complete his five year tenure as a chief minister.

Though in the last two years, BJP won most of the by-elections under Yediyurappa's leadership, repeated floods, alleged shortcomings in COVID-19 management and growing disgruntlement within the party and the government, threw challenges to the Yediyurappa administration.

With growing age and strong central leadership, his declining sway over the party and administration marred his final tenure, bringing him the criticism of being a "weak CM" from the Opposition parties and even attacks from a section of the party's disgruntled leaders

The last couple of months have been particularly challenging for Yediyurappa, with the BJP in Karnataka splitting into three camps €" pro BSY, anti-BSY and neutral €" and bringing to a screeching halt developmental work during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In July, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, a strident critic of the caretaker chief ministe, hit the headlines when he said that Yediyurappa should be replaced for the state and party to survive. There are many alternative leaders to Yediyurappa in the party, the former Union minister had said.

In June, disgruntled BJP legislator AH Vishwanath had alleged the Irrigation Department readied a Rs 21,473 crore tender in a hurry and without financial approval, and termed it a "scam". He also accused Yediyurappa's son and BJP state unit vice-president BY Vijayendra of interfering in the functioning of the government.

Who is Bommai?

Born on 28 January, 1960, Bommai is from the Sadara Lingayat community and is a close confidant of the outgoing chief minister. Bommai joined the BJP in 2008, following which the two-time MLC and three-time MLA from Shiggaon in Haveri district, has seen an upwards trajectory within the party ranks. In the past, he held the water resources portfolio. An engineer by profession, Bommai began his career with the Tata group.

Bommai's father SR Bommai was a Janata Parivar stalwart and had served as the 11th Chief Minister of Karnataka.

He also entered the annals of history courtesy of a landmark Supreme Court verdict entitled SR Bommai vs Union of India which concluded that the power of the president to dismiss a state government is not absolute.

The verdict held that the president should exercise the power only after his proclamation (imposing his/her rule) is approved by both Houses of Parliament. Till then the president can only suspend the Legislative Assembly by suspending the provisions of Constitution relating to the Legislative Assembly.

"The dissolution of Legislative Assembly is not a matter of course. It should be resorted to only where it is found necessary for achieving the purposes of the Proclamation," the apex court said.

Also See: Karnataka Latest News Updates: Governor invites CM-elect Basavaraj Bommai to take oath tomorrow at 11 am

After BS Yediyurappa's exit, who are the front-runners for Karnataka CM post?; here's a list

Speculation mounts as BS Yediyurappa hints at possible exit post from Karnataka CM's post; who said what

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