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How Shortest-Serving K’taka CM Yeddyurappa Became BJP Strongman

Serving short-lived tenures is not new to the three-time CM.

4 min read
How Shortest-Serving K’taka CM Yeddyurappa Became BJP Strongman
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Karnataka is witnessing history repeat itself, and rather unkindly on three-time Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa.

On Saturday, the two-day-old CM resigned from his post, just minutes before the floor test that was ordered, in which the BJP had to prove its majority.

BS Yeddyurappa’s resignation makes him the shortest-serving chief minister in the history of Karnataka, and the chief minister with the second-shortest tenure in India after Jagdambika Pal, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for just one day in February 1998.

Yeddyurappa delivered an emotional speech on the floor of the House, at the end of which he announced his resignation.

Serving short-lived tenures is, however, not new to the three-time CM.


In 2007, when he first was sworn in, his chief ministership lasted for slightly longer than 8 days.

In 2011 again, his tenure as CM was cut short by two years following his indictment in the illegal mining scam.

The 2-day CM’s political career has taken several twists and turns, from his humble beginnings of working as a clerk in the state government to becoming the chief minister of Karnataka three times.

Despite this loss of face, the Lingayat strongman is still the undisputed leader within the party’s state unit. Many poll analysts are of the opinion that the swing in fortunes for the BJP in the Mumbai Karnataka region can solely be attributed to the undiminishing popularity of the 75-year-old.

The BJP managed to win 26 out of 44 seats in the region, an upswing of 16 seats it won in 2013.

In 2013, when he was contesting the elections as the Karnataka Janata Paksha candidate, a party floated by him after he was ousted in 2011 following his resignation, the BJP was reduced to just 40 seats. The KJP, which split the votes, won 6 seats.

He had famously said then, “I've made the BJP realise what it is without me.”

This time around, the BJP won 104 seats, nine short of the magic number. For the RSS man, this was so close, yet so far.


Humble Beginnings

Born to Siddalingappa and Puttathayamma in Mandya’s Boonankere village on 27 February, 1943, Boonankere Siddalinagappa Yeddyurappa completed his Bachelor’s degree in Arts and went on to work as a clerk in the state government’s Department of Social Welfare.

After quitting his job, Yeddyurappa went to Shikaripura. He took up a job as a clerk at the Veerabhadra Shastri’s Rice Mill, where he fell in love with the mill owner’s daughter Mythra Devi. He opened up a hardware shop after marrying Mythra Devi, but this did not satisfy him.

A young Yeddyurappa was quickly drawn towards the RSS and became a karyakarta. He was later appointed as the Sangh’s Shivamogga District Chief.

In 1973, Yeddyurappa officially entered the political sphere when he was elected as the councillor of the Shikaripura Municipal Council. He went on to be elected once more as the councillor in 1977.


Yeddyurappa shot to fame in the late 1970s when he took up the cause of landless agricultural workers in Shivamogga district. He also took up the cause of bonded labourers.

He led a team of 1,700 bonded labourers to the Shivamogga Deputy Commissioner’s office demanding their immediate release and rehabilitation.

It was in 1980 that Yeddyurappa joined the BJP and in 1983, the same year that Siddaramaiah first contested Assembly polls, Yeddyurappa too contested from Shikaripura and won, thereby becoming an MLA.

Soon after, he was appointed as the Shivamogga District President of the BJP between 1985 and 1988. He was elected once more to the Assembly in 1985.


Yeddyurappa managed to gain the people’s loyalty in August 1987, when he travelled across Shivamogga district on a bicycle to take stock of the terrible drought which had struck the region. He went on to urge the government to initiate drought relief works.

In 1988, he was appointed as the BJP state president. He won the Assembly elections in 1989 and 1994. Yeddyurappa was appointed as a Member of Legislative Council in 2000 and remained an MLC till 2004.

He was given a ticket to contest the polls in the 2004 Assembly elections and was projected as the CM face of the BJP.

The BJP had emerged as the single largest party with 79 votes in 2004. The Congress had scored 64 seats and the JD(S) had bagged 58 seats. Yeddyurappa had then become the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly.

Although initially, the Congress and JD(S) had formed a coalition government, the JD(S) withdrew from the alliance and joined hands with the BJP.


Yeddyurappa had, in 2006 served as the Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister. As per the power-sharing agreement between the JD(S) and BJP, he had taken oath as the chief minister of the state in 2007.

This lasted only for seven days as Kumaraswamy was unwilling to let go of the chief ministerial position and the JD(S) withdrew from the alliance.

In 2008, Yeddyurappa once again became the chief minister after the BJP emerged as the single largest party. However, his fate was sealed after the then Tourism Minister Janardhana Reddy and his brothers were named in the 2009 Ballari illegal mining scam. Yeddyurappa was made to step down and had wept in public at the loss of his chair.

Although it was the illegal mining scam that cost him his chief ministership, it was the illegal de-notification case which landed him in jail.

In fact, he became the first CM of Karnataka to be lodged in prison for breaking the law.

Following this, he had resigned from the BJP’s primary membership. As an MLA in 2012, he launched the Karnataka Janata Paksha before rejoining the party ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Yeddyurappa came back into state politics with renewed vigour after the crushing defeat faced by the BJP in 2013.


(This article was originally published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)

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