Yeddurappa exit signals end of troubled rule

July 31st, 2011 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, July 31 (IANS) The exit of B.S. Yeddyurappa, Bharatiya Janata Party’s first chief minister in Karnataka and south India, signals the end of a troubled three-year rule that was marked by rebellions, charges of nepotism and malfeasance and tussle with his own party that strained to contain a powerful regional chieftain.

Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa, 68, submitted his resignation to Governor H. R. Bhardwaj here Sunday afternoon over a host of corruption charges that included amassing of wealth by his family during his tenure.

The resignation came after three days of tense stand-off with party over its Thursday’s directive to quit immediately following Lokayukta N.Santosh Hegde recommending his trial for graft in the huge illegal iron ore mining scam that has cost the state over Rs. 16,000 crore loss.

Yeddyurappa grew from ranks starting with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He has made significant contribution to building the Jan Sangh and later the BJP in Karnataka, the only southern Indian state where the party has a major presence.

Yeddyurappa and BJP exploited to the hilt the caste card in the 2008 assembly polls to come within the striking distance of a clear majority in the 225-member house with one nominated member.

The BJP had formed a coalition with Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in 2006 on the understanding the two parties will share the chief ministership for 20 months each.

The JD-S, headed by former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, however, did not stick to its word in 2007.

Yeddyurappa turned it into “betrayal” of the politically influential Lingayat community to which he belongs. The JD-S strength comes mainly from another politically powerful community - Vokkaligas.

The political turmoil led to dissolution of the assembly one year earlier than scheduled and in the polls in 2008 BJP won 110 seats.

Yeddyurappa took over as chief minister May 30, 2008, mustering majority of 115 with the support of five Independents who were made cabinet ministers as reward.

His three year rule was troubled. The list of problems is endless - three rebellions, corruption charges such as favouring kin with prime land in and around Bangalore, turning a blind eye to rampant illegal iron ore mining, allowing his sons to financially benefit from firms involved in illegal mining; and luring Congress and JD-S legislators to defect with offer of money and plum posts.

Furthermore, a minister resigned over rape charges, another quit for allegedly making money by favouring a private firm with government land, and third over illegalities in recruitment to medical colleges and hospitals,

In spite of these problems and increasing opposition demand for his resignation and attack by them on BJP for its “double standards” on corruption, Yeddyurappa managed to survive.

At the height of attack on him for allotting prime residential and commercial land to his sons, daughters, sister and her kin in and around Bangalore early this year, BJP president Nitin Gadkari came to his rescue saying what Yeddyurappa has done may be “immoral” but not “illegal”.

The “illegality” was established by Hegde, a retired Supreme Court judge, in his voluminous report on illegal mining and how Yeddyuappa’s family had made money from it.

Last Wednesday Hegde released his report and recommended Yeddyurappa’s trial for graft under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Yeddurappa’s attempt to fob off the report as nothing but repletion of old charges was not bought by even Gadkari and Thursday the marching orders were out.

Though the party’s parliamentary board wanted Yeddyurappa to quit immediately, he bought time using the Hindu calendar according to which the inauspicious month of Ashada was to last till July 30.

He used this period to bargain with the party to allow him to pick the successor and sought full powers over party and the new government in the state.

Finally Sunday afternoon he quit even as there was no word either from him or the BJP on the terms he left office.

For BJP and its new government in Karnataka it is only end of one troubled period and beginning of, perhaps, turbulent times till the next elections due in April-May 2013.

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