Yeddyurappa, Karnataka chief minister-elect, once saw no future in BJP (Lead)

May 29th, 2008 - 2:18 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 in it for himself. A few months after the 2004 polls, Yeddyurappa met H.D. Kumaraswamy, son of Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) president and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, to explore the possibility of joining that party.

At first, Yeddyurappa had vehemently denied any plan to leave the party, but was forced into an admission 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.

Admitting the 2004 move, Yeddyurappa declared in 2007: “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.”

Kumaraswamy’s revelation 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.

But by that time last year, Yeddyurappa could afford to come out with the truth and seek pardon from his party and the Karnataka electorate as the BJP had already declared him its chief ministerial candidate.

In 2004, Yeddyurappa was angry with the BJP for not projecting him as its chief ministerial nominee.

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.

Well beyond that now, Yeddyurappa is today 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.

But during the campaign this year, in spite of the party’s central leadership projecting him as its chief ministerial nominee, many senior BJP leaders were cut up with Yeddyurappa 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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