Karnataka chief minister elect Yeddyurappa saw no future in BJP

May 29th, 2008 - 12:28 pm ICT by admin  

By V.S. Karnic
Bangalore, May 29 (IANS) B.S. Yeddyurappa, who will become the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first chief minister in Karnataka and south India Friday, had thought of quitting the party after the 2004 assembly polls because he saw no future for him in it. Yeddyurappa is now the tallest BJP leader in Karnataka as he led the party to nearly an absolute majority in the 225-member state assembly in the elections held May 10, 16 and 22.

However, he still has some way to go to claim full control over the party where he has both admirers and detractors in plenty.

BJP won 110 seats - three short of majority but 31 more than it had bagged in the 2004 elections.

Yeddyurappa was angry with the party for not projecting him as its chief ministerial nominee in the 2004 polls.

His frustration grew as Janata Dal-Secular (JDS), which had won 58 seats, preferred to align with the Congress, which had bagged 65 seats, and not BJP though it had emerged as the single largest party with 79 seats.

Yeddyurappa thought the BJP had peaked in Karnataka and would not win that many seats in the state ever again.

A few months after the 2004 polls, which were held in May along with parliamentary elections, he met H.D. Kumaraswamy, son of JDS president and former prime minister H. D. Deve Gowda, to explore the possibility of joining that party.

There was speculation at that time that about 40 of the 79 BJP legislators were willing to leave the party along with Yeddyurappa. He had, however, vehemently denied any plan to leave the party.

But Yeddyurappa was forced to admit to such a plan after Kumaraswamy revealed that the BJP leader had come to him a few months after the 2004 assembly polls, saying he would be happy if he could get just a ministership.

Kumaraswamy’s revelations followed the break-up of the JDS-BJP alliance in October-November last year over his refusal to make way for Yeddyurappa as chief minister as agreed to in January-February 2006 when they formed the coalition government.

As BJP went ballistic on the JDS “betrayal”, Kumaraswamy began taunting Yeddyurappa and the BJP, saying that they had no moral right to talk about loyalty and honouring one’s word.

“That was an unpardonable mistake on my part. I will never again make such a mistake. I will never again think of leaving the BJP,” Yeddyurppa had declared in response to Kumaraswamy’s taunts.

Yeddyurappa could afford to come out with the truth and seek pardon from his party and the Karnataka electorate as by then the BJP had declared him its chief ministerial candidate.

In spite of the party’s central leadership projecting him as its chief ministerial nominee, many senior leaders were cut up with him over the way he was conducting the party’s state-wide campaign to expose the JDS ‘betrayal’.

Delegations had gone to New Delhi with the complaint that Yeddyurappa was trying to upstage other senior leaders in the party and use the campaign to project himself rather than the party.

He has survived all that to realise his dream of becoming chief minister.

But another round of problems might have just begun for Yeddyurappa as he gets ready to lead the party’s first government in the south.

He is dependent on independents who have helped him cross the magic figure of 113 for a majority in the assembly. The price he has to pay for the support remains to be seen.

Known for his short temper, Yeddyurappa may well end up as a leader who learns that patience pays. That may also help prolong the life of a government.

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