Bidding a teary adieu to his post, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa broke down at the two-year celebration event of his government formation in Bengaluru today followed by the announcement of his resignation. The news came after weeks of rumours doing the rounds merged with urges by some BJP members of the state to remove him from office.
The 78-year-old delivered a painful speech at the event held at the Vidhan Sabha premises. He spoke about the troubles he had to bear and the tests he went through during the 2 years span of his 4th tenure as the Chief Minister of the southern state. “I have decided to resign. I will meet the Governor after lunch,” a visibly teary-eyed Mr Yediyurappa said. This could be the last time he takes the CM’s chair as according to BJP’s policy, one cannot remain in office after attaining 75 years of age.
After his speech, he got down the aisle and walked to the building situated next door for handing over the resignation letter though he will remain the caretaker CM for 2-3 days. The time is bought to decide the next person to replace Mr Yediyurappa.
Speaking to the reporters, he expressed gratitude to the PM and other Union Ministers and that he had decided to resign “sometime back”. “I thank PM (Narendra) Modi, Amit Shah and JP Nadda. They gave me the chance to rule as Chief Minister despite being over 75…. I thought it best to resign today as we mark the completion of two years in this term,” he said.
Mr Yediyurappa reminisced the days when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister and had apparently given him the opportunity to be a minister at the Centre, “but I said I will be in Karnataka”.
Stressing on the zero pressure on him for making the move, the CM added, “I did it on my own so that someone else can take over as Chief Minister after the completion of two years of government. I’ll work to bring BJP back in power in the next election. I’ve not given the name of anyone who will succeed me.”
“It has always been an agnipariksha (trial by fire) for me. These last two years it was Covid,” saying that the BJP had grown in Karnataka during this time. This was followed by a tweet, posted as a tribute to his idols in the party and other top leaders.
Though his resignation was being guessed by many people, today’s announcement came as a shock for everyone. Minister K Sudhakar, too, exclaimed his surprise over the move saying, “It was a surprise for me. He told me that he may receive a favorable decision from the high command by July 26. But we all have to abide by the norms of the party.”
Mr Yediyurappa witnessed several people taking his stance including priests, influential persons of the Lingayat community, party loyalists and even a Congress leader last week.
However, he said he hadn’t received any update from his party over the matter on Sunday evening.
“Nothing has come till now… In the morning there is a programme to mark two years of government. I will speak about the achievements in those two years. After that, you will know the progress,” he told the media.
Yesterday, he added that he was “ready to resign whenever asked to”, but has got no message from the Centre. “As soon as it comes, if they ask me to continue I will. If not, I will resign and work for that party,” he said.
Speculation about his exit became wider after he went to Delhi all of a sudden in a chartered flight to meet PM Modi and other BJP leaders. While he said they did not discuss his resignation during the meeting, his statement of being “ready to resign whenever he gets told to” came just days later.
Mr Yediyurappa had taken office in 2019 following a sudden fall of the Janata Dal Secular-Congress government. 17 rebels had exited, which later got a post in Yediyurappa’s cabinet.
The CM remained in the bad books of his ministers as several slammed him for corruption allegations while others held him guilty of permitting his son Vijayendra to get involved in matters of the government.