B S Yeddyurappa’s Journey From A Clerk, Hardware Store Owner To Being A Three-Time CM
While most of us were just starting our day, BJP Chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa was taking oath as the 23rd Chief Minister of Karnataka. The Karnataka Legislative Assembly elections 2018 was full of high voltage drama; from the intense and extravagant election campaigns, mudslinging to last-minute confusion and anticipation over who would form the government.
Foray into politics
Terming BS Yeddyurappa’s political career ‘interesting’ would be an understatement.
The man at the centre of attention in Karnataka was born on February 27, 1943, in Mandya district. His first job was that of a first-division clerk at the state social welfare department and he subsequently set up a hardware shop.
A staunch follower of Hinduism, BS Yeddyurappa or BSY as he is commonly known as, joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) during his college days. He was appointed as Karyavaha (Secretary) of the Sangh’s Shikaripur unit in 1970.
He enthusiastically took up the cause of landless agricultural workers in Shivmoga district, even preventing the state Forest Department from planting eucalyptus saplings on the land given to the agriculture labourers as part of “Land to the tiller scheme”, giving him an instant shot to fame and popularity.
In 1972, he was elected to the Shikaripura Town Municipality and was also appointed as the President of the Taluk unit of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the political arm of RSS.
Tumultuous association with BJP
BSY rose to ranks of power in 1988 after he was made the state President of BJP in Karnataka after serving as the President of the Shikaripura taluk unit of the BJP in 1980 and President of the BJP’s Shimoga unit in 1985.
He was the Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Legislative Assembly post-1994 state assembly elections and again in 2004 during the chief ministership of Dharam Singh.
2004 elections too resulted in hung assembly, with no party establishing a majority. The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) then joined hands and Dharam Singh was unanimously chosen by both the parties to form the coalition government. Interestingly, in 2006, Yeddyurappa made headlines again as he and JD (S) leader HD Kumaraswamy brought down Dharam Singh of the Congress government when Singh was indicted in a mining scam by the state Lokayukta.
With the indictment of Singh, BJP and JD (S) came together and formed a pact allowing them to head the government for 20 months each. Kumaraswamy assumed the position of CM first while Yeddyurappa was appointed the deputy CM. After 20 months, in October 2007, when it was time to swap, in a breach of trust, JD (S) backed out the pact leading to BJP walking out of the coalition government. Post this, President’s rule was announced in the state.
In November 2007, the two parties did make peace, making Yeddyurappa the CM, however, this lasted for mere seven days. Yeddyurappa resigned over dissent in the coalition over the sharing of ministries. Another round of President’s rule followed.
After the Assembly Elections of 2008, Yeddyurappa was sworn in as the CM and BJP made its first foray into South India. His tenure was marked with several ups and downs with revolts against him from within the party. In late 2010, corruption charges against Yeddyurappa began surfacing and the Karnataka Lokayukta, investigating the mining scam indicted Yeddyurappa for owning illegal lands in Bangalore and Shimoga and also in connection with the illegal iron ore export scam in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts of Karnataka. He finally decided to resign from his position on July 31, 2011.
The apparent fall from grace was extremely dramatic as Yeddyurappa resigned and walked out of the Raj Bhavan on the rainy Sunday with 70 odd MLAs walking along with his side.
He went on to launch Karnataka Janata Paksha post his resignation from the primary membership of Bharatiya Janata Party in November 2012. However, ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he announced his unconditional return to BJP and on January 2, 2014, he officially announced the merger. That year, Yeddyurappa went on to win from the Shimoga seat of Karnataka in the Indian general elections.
In 2016, he was made the BJP state president and was announced as the BJP CM candidate for the 2018 elections.
Accusations and jail term
Yeddyurappa was convicted on the charges of corruption in 2011 and went to jail for the same. He was arrested on October 15, 2011, after the Lokayukta court issued warrants against him in two cases of corruption for illegally denotifying land in and around Bangalore. He was granted bail after spending 23 days in jail.
Karnataka High Court in 2015 quashed the cases against him after which the special Lokayukta court struck four other FIRs against him.
Two other cases against Yeddyurappa – Bhadra reserve forest land encroachment and irregularities in the Upper Bhadra irrigation project – were also quashed.