On a sad note, and with tearful eyes, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced his resignation, ending speculation raised by relentless calls for his removal by a section of the BJP in the state. Yediyurappa, the BJP’s first Chief Minister in the south, took power in 2019 after a dramatic coup that saw the Janata Dal Secular-Congress government crashing after the abrupt resignation of 17 rebels. Most of the rebels later joined the BJP and contested elections. Many of them were accommodated in Yediyurappa’s cabinet.
“I have decided to resign. Yediyurappa declared in a tearful speech at the Vidhan Sabha premises, I will meet the Governor after lunch. Nobody pressured me to resign. 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.”
Talking about being tested constantly in the two years of his fourth term – possibly his last, given the BJP’s age limit of 75 years for posts. Soon after, he walked to the building next door to hand in his resignation. He will remain caretaker Chief Minister as his party decides on a replacement; sources say a decision could take two or three days.
“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 had decided to resign some time back. I thought it best to resign today as we mark the completion of two years in this term,” he told reporters.
Earlier, in his speech, he said: “When (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) was Prime Minister he asked me to be a minister at the Centre. But I said I will be in Karnataka.” The BJP had grown in Karnataka, he said, adding: “It has always been an agni pariksha (trial by fire) for me. These last two years it was Covid.”
He also tweeted a tribute to his party’s icons and top leaders. But Mr Yediyurappa never could keep everyone happy. Disgruntled BJP leaders like MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Tourism Minister CP Yogeshwar and legislative council member AH Vishwanath repeatedly attacked him over corruption allegations and accused him of letting his son Vijayendra interfere in the government.
The resignation was widely anticipated but Yediyurappa kept everyone guessing till yesterday. Even a minister claimed surprise. “It was a surprise for me. He told me that he may receive a favourable decision from the high command by July 26. But we all have to abide by the norms of the party,” said K Sudhakar.
Surjewala attacked BJP on Twitter stating that “We now know that Delhi’s autocracy decides CM’s and not the will of BJP’s MLAs,” he further charged. “The stark reality is that Modiji habitually insults and compulsorily throws senior BJP Leaders in the dustbin of history,” the Congress leader alleged.
Yediyurappa has, however, claimed that there is no pressure on him from the party leadership to resign and he has tendered his resignation of his own.
“Modi’s record is replete with painful and forcible retirements of Advaniji, M.M.Joshiji, Keshubhai Patelji, Shanta Kumarji, Yashwant Sinhaji and many others. The list of Modi’s victims in BJP doesn’t end here,” Surjewala said.
He also cited the names of Sumitra Mahajan, Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti, C.P.Thakur, A.K.Patel, Haren Pandya, Harin Pathak, Kalyan Singh as those leaders who have been retired by the top brass of the BJP. He said the latest “victims” are Harsh Vardhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Sushil Modi. Congress leader Mallikarujun Kharge, however, termed the resignation of Yediyurappa as an internal matter of the BJP.
Taking on the BJP over the Pegasus spying issue, Surjewala said, “Malady is with BJP’s corrupt Government and appalling maladministration in Karnataka, for it is an illegitimate Government born out of “defection and corruption.”