Karnataka to turn saffron to usher in BJP government Friday

May 29th, 2008 - 6:12 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi

Bangalore, May 29 (IANS) From Bangalore, India’s silicon valley, to small towns and villages in other parts of Karnataka, saffron flags of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will flutter everywhere Friday to usher in the BJP’s first government in south India. It will be a historic moment for BJP when Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa takes oath as chief minister at 1.50 p.m. on the portals of the majestic state secretariat building in the heart of Bangalore.

BJP president Rajnath Singh and the party’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani will lead the party leaders and workers from Karnataka and elsewhere in the country to witness the oath-taking ceremony, for which the party has been waiting for decades.

“All top central leaders of the party, all chief ministers of BJP as well as National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-ruled states and all heads of state party units will be present at the function,” party spokesperson M.H. Sridhar told IANS.

“We are expecting about 50,000 people from across the state to witness the event,” he added.

Besides Rajnath Singh and Advani, other central leaders arriving for the ceremony include Sushma Swaraj, who campaigned vigorously during the three phases of poll held on May 10, 16 and 22; Arun Jaitley, in charge of party affairs in Karnataka and M. Venkaiah Naidu, who is a Rajya Sabha member from the state.

Of the BJP chief ministers, Narendra Modi of Gujarat also spent several days in Karnataka campaigning for the party and is expected to be among the star attractions.

As workers erected barricades under the supervision of Bangalore city police around the secretariat building called Vidhana Soudha, the man of the moment, the 65-year-old Yeddyurappa, spent almost all of Thursday visiting temples and heads of various mutts to seek blessings.

He began the day praying at the Siddhalingeshwara temple in Yedyiur, about 100 km from here, and then visited the heads of Adi Chunchanagiri, Siddaganga, Balehonnur and Suttur mutts, all within 100-150 km from Bangalore, and offered puja at the Chamundeshwari temple atop the Chamundi hills in Mysore.

Bookanakere, a small village with a population of about 6,000 situated about 100 km from here, is also busy preparing for the big event. Yeddyrappa was born there in 1943.

He has relatives living in Bookanakere and the village is excited that one of their own will be chief minister again. Yeddyurappa’s first stint lasted just seven days in November as the BJP’s coalition partner Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) withdrew support.

As in Bookanakere, it is celebration time in his assembly constituency Shikaripura in Shimoga district, about 330 km from here.

Shikaripura has been lucky for Yeddyurappa. It elected him to the assembly for the sixth time now. He lost only once, in 1999.

BJP offices across the state will also be decked up with party flags, banners and cutouts of Yeddyurappa, party leaders said.

Along with Yeddyurappa about 15 leaders are likely to take oath of office Friday. They include at least three of the six independents whose support has enabled the party to cross the half-way mark of 113 in the 225-member assembly.

Following a promise Yeddyurappa made during the election campaign, a leader of the minority Muslim community will also be inducted to the cabinet though the party itself had not fielded any Muslim candidate.

BJP won 110 seats dashing the Congress’ hopes of halting the party’s march in the south. JD-S, which walked out of an alliance with the BJP last year after enjoying power for 20 months with BJP’s support, could win only 28 seats against 58 it had got in the 2004 polls.

Governor Rameshwar Thakur will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Yeddyurappa for the second time in less than seven months. He had sworn him in on Nov 12, 2007 and accepted his resignation on Nov 19.

The Karnataka police have made elaborate security arrangements as all top leaders of BJP will be present at one place in the open for the ceremony that is expected to last about 20 minutes.

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