Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa, usually known as BS Yediyurappa or BSY and Raja Huli (King Tiger) among his admirers, has reached the culmination point in his political innings with an overdose of never-ending ups and downs. According to his own pronouncements two days ago, he was going to put in his papers as the chief minister on 26 July, a post he adorned for the fourth time, a short-lived one. It goes to his credit that he strived along with BB Shivappa, HN Ananthkumar and many others in enabling the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from a four legislators’ party to a ruling party. Probably Yediyurappa himself may not remember the number of times he has travelled across the state nook and corner, day and night and days together to campaign for the party wholeheartedly.
However, despite toiling for the party’s victory several times, he has not been lucky to remain in the saddle for the whole term not even once. Whether you believe in luck or not it goes without saying that BS Yediyurappa has never been lucky at all. Not only that three out of four times, but his own partymen have also ensured that he’s unseated.
Interestingly, the national president of the regional party didn’t see any communal colours as long as his son HD Kumaraswamy remained the chief minister for 20 months with the tacit support of the same saffron party. Nor did he bother to go to the Rajya Sabha with the complete support of the BJP recently.
Gali Janardhan Reddy, the son of a police head constable turned mining baron and minister in the cabinet, had dared Yediyurappa for the first time by ferrying a big team of ruling BJP MLAs’ to Hyderabad, Goa and elsewhere. The party high command did nothing against the coup leader. But the Supreme Court nailed him, CBI remanded him to jail and needs to get the court’s permission to visit his native Ballari district now.
So far, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Vijayapura BJP MLA, H Vishwanath, BJP MLC and CP Yogeshwar, the tourism minister, continue to wash dirty linen in public much against the party’s interests. However, no disciplinary action has been taken against them yet.
These things apart, looking back, it appears Yediyurappa has swallowed more poison rather than amrita, the divine nectar of immortality, in the party. That way, he can be truly called Modern Vishakanta.
Yediyurappa, real mass leader
All these years Yediyurappa has been dubbed as a Lingayat strongman and branded as if his influence is restricted only to the community he belongs to. But plain facts reveal the real personality he has evolved into a real mass leader beyond the purview of caste, creed, region and religion.
A former director of Information and Public Relations who does not want to be identified lauds the accomplishments in this way: He is a true mass leader in all sense. Once a person unknown to him and belonging to a scheduled caste approached Yediyurappa for some favour to a memorial of the community leader. To the beneficiary’s great surprise, the chief minister obliged although not in toto. Likewise, an introverted scheduled caste MLA was shying away to meet the chief minister during the latter’s visit to Bidar district. Noticing the reluctant behaviour of the legislator, the chief minister summoned him and the next day he was made chairman of a corporation.
All swamis of community lobby for BSY
Ever since an indication was made that the days of Yediyurappa in power are over, initially the Lingayat mutt pontiffs made a beeline before the chief minister’s house, pleading with him to continue and not resign. This development gave substance for some pseudo-secular spokespersons to hurl abuses against the Swamiji’s for playing the caste card. However, the practice continued in a different manner. Along with Lingayat mutt pontiffs, religious heads of other backward, schedule caste and schedule tribes followed suit. As if this surprising behaviour wasn’t enough, even the priests of the Christain community publicly announced their support to the chief minister. They declared in writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard on behalf of the All India Christain Association.
Unassuming mass leader
Rakesh Kombra, Bengaluru based veteran journalist who has travelled with BS Yediyurappa across the state several times, recalls: “BS Yediyurappa has made it a practice to visit the Bengaluru Archibishop every year irrespective of being in a power position or not. In spite of being a tall leader, he doesn’t hesitate to address small groups in remote villages which is a rare gesture for his personality. He calls people by their names wherever he goes, which is a rare quality…
… One more amazing characteristic about Yediyurappa is his accommodative nature among all kinds of people, a rare quality with the BJP politicians. A year ago, two Muslims were killed during police firing at Mangaluru when the protests against CAA turned violent. A delegation of Bengaluru Muslim Associations met the CM to express their displeasure over the tragedy. The chief minister not only warmly received the delegation but tendered an apology over the incident sending shock waves to the visitors. That’s the persona of BSY,” analyses Rakesh Kombra.
Active, alert, all-pervasive 24×7
Of late all sorts of theories are being propagated for the ousting of BSY. One such claim is that he has become too old to handle the affairs. He cannot hear nor recognise people. The prime minister is in receipt of all his medical reports indicating an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Even BJP MLC H Vishwanath dubs BY Vijayendra as the eyes, tongue and hands of BSY.
Ever since BS Yediyurappa took over and the state underwent turmoil over Covid-19 he has been much more active than his own junior colleagues. He has been and continues to receive any number of delegations, attends virtual, physical meetings, visit places day in and day out. Throughout the day, he continues to oblige the media with all sorts of queries. Never has he told that he didn’t hear the question nor replied contrary to what has been asked. But canards continue to do rounds like never before.
Irrespective of such plain facts, the days are over. But who’s the loser, certainly not BS Yediyurappa.