From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Bengaluru, Jul 28: Trusted lieutenant of former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, 61-year-old Basavaraj Bommai was sworn in as Karnataka’s 23rd Chief Minister at Raj Bhavan on Wednesday.
The three-time MLA from Shiggaon in Haveri district in the heart of Lingayat dominated North Karnataka, who had earlier served as Home Minister as also Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister in the outgoing cabinet, was sworn in by Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot in the presence of senior BJP leaders, including his predecessor Yediyurappa, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, deputed as Central Observer for paving the way for the transition and BJP National General Secretary and State in-charge Arun Singh and his supporters.
Bommai became the Chief Minister 23 years after his father late Somappa Rayappa Bommai had occupied the top position in the State.
Even as Bommai was sworn in the name of God, loud cheers and slogan shouting by the BJP men, who shouted aloud Bharat Mata Ki Jai.
The BJP central high command, which asked 78-year-old Yediyurappa to quit to make way for someone younger to prepare the party for the next assembly elections in the State some 22 months away in 2023 and also in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls in 2024.
A teary-eyed Lingayat strongman Yediyurappa, who had risen from an ordinary RSS pracharak to become the Chief Minister of the State for four times but never to complete the full five-year term, had resigned on Monday, the day of his government’s second anniversary, and had made it clear that he was resigning on his own and had thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda for allowing him to become Chief Minister for the fourth time in 2019 despite crossing the 75-year age limit.
However, before putting in his papers, Yediyurappa had demonstrated his clout and pull among the politically powerful Lingayat community by mobilising the support of over 100 swamijis of different mutts from across the State, with some of the pontiffs even warning the BJP high command that the community will drown BJP in Yediyurappa’s tears for not allowing him to continue at least till the end of the present term of the assembly in 2023.
With a view to avoid antagonising the Lingayat community, which is a decisive factor in around 100 of the 224 assembly constituencies, and also to ensure that Yediyurappa does not do anything to rock the boat soon after his exit as he did when he had floated his own political party Karnataka Janata Party to decimate the BJP in the subsequent assembly polls, the BJP high command has apparently chosen Yediyurappa’s confidant and persuaded him to propose Bommai’s name for the coveted post in the BJP legislature party meeting held on Tuesday night even though there were many other claimants including Murugesh R Nirani, Basavaraj Patil Yatnal and Aravind Bellad from the same community besides many others from different communities.
Starting the day by offering a special puja and also visiting the Hanuman temple, evidently to ward off any dangers, Bommai also visited the residence of Yediyurappa before arriving at Raj Bhavan for the swearing in ceremony along with his wife Chennamma and children Bharat and Aditi.
The outgoing Chief Minister, who has vowed to work for the party’s success in the coming elections and has refused to accept any position, including Governor’s post, seemed very cheerful and garlanded Bommai. Yediyurappa also arrived at Raj Bhavan well before the scheduled time with his younger son B Y Vijayendra, the State BJP Vice President.
All the leaders who served as ministers in the Yediyurappa cabinet and party MLAs and functionaries attended the swearing in ceremony.