It is ironic that BS Yediyurappa, who is known to be Bharatiya Janata Party’s most trusted strongman in Karnataka, never gets to complete a five-year term in office as chief minister. While Yediyurappa stepped down from his role on Monday, 26 July, it was not the first time that he resigned from this office.
The past three times that he got his shot at the CM’s chair, BSY has had to resign. The Quint takes a look back at the circumstances that led to his four resignations.
19 November, 2007: Eight Days as CM
The JD(S) withdrew support to its earlier ally the Congress in January 2006. Subsequently, HD Kumaraswamy became the CM and Yediyurappa his deputy. The understanding was that after 20 months, Kumaraswamy would hand over the baton to Yediyurappa.
At the end of 20 months in October, Kumaraswamy declined to hand over power. An enraged Yediyurappa was on his way to meet the Siddaganga Lingayat mutt seer in Tumakuru, when he got a call that the JD(S) had agreed to make him the CM.
However, on the day Yediyurappa was to seek the trust vote, Kumaraswamy issued a whip to his MLAs to defeat the motion.
In 2007, the BJP government – the first such in south India – collapsed within a week after its ally the JD(S) decided to vote against the former during the confidence motion. Aware that he had slim chances to win the trust vote, Yediyurappa went ahead to face the confidence motion.
However, he resigned after the debate and before the motion was taken up for voting.
31 July, 2011: Three-and-a-Half Years as CM
In 2011, Yediyurappa had to step down after he was indicted by then Lokayukta Justice Santosh N Hegde in his report on illegal mining.
The report said that Yediyurappa and a few of his cabinet colleagues had caused Rs 16,085 crore loss to the exchequer, thanks to illegal mining in Ballari district.
Along with Yediyurappa, the report named the Ballari mining czars and brothers G Janardhan Reddy, G Karunakara Reddy, their associate B Sriramulu, and V Somanna. They were all ministers in Yediyurappa's cabinet.
Former MP Anil Lad and present BJP minister Anand Singh also figured in the report. According to the report, Yediyurappa's sons BY Raghavendra and BY Vijayendra, and son-in-law RN Sohan Kumar reaped a windfall from the mining companies in the form of donations and kickbacks.
Initially, Yediyurappa had refused to step down, dismissing the report, but the BJP high command was in no mood to indulge him.
As BJP veteran LK Advani expressed his disapproval over Yediyurappa's actions, the latter had no option but to resign.
However, he reportedly imposed three conditions before the BJP high command. One, the new chief ministerial candidate should be of his choice; RSS strongman DV Sadananda Gowda was selected. Secondly, he should be allowed to play a major role in the cabinet formation. Also, he wanted to be rehabilitated as the BJP Karnataka unit president.
A written statement released by his then cabinet colleagues Basavaraj Bommai and Murugesh R Nirani read:
"As per the decision taken by our senior leaders in the parliamentary board, I am resigning from the post of chief minister on 31 July.''BS Yediyurappa's Resignation Statement
19 May, 2018: Two-and-a-Half Days as CM
The Assembly elections had been held in May to 222 of the total 224 seats and a hung Assembly was the result. The BJP had emerged as the single largest party with 104 MLAs, while the Congress won 78 seats and Janata Dal (Secular) 38 (including one from the Bahujan Samaj Party, its pre-poll ally). Polling to two seats had been withheld.
Though the Congress and JD(S) had formed a post-poll alliance and communicated the same to then Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R Vala, the latter chose to invite Yediyurappa to form the government and prove his majority within 15 days.
Both the Congress and the JD(S) had moved the apex court challenging Vala's order.
The court in its verdict gave just one day's time to Yediyurappa to prove his majority on the floor of the House instead of a fortnight he had asked for.
But, Yediyurappa stepped down from the chief minister's post on 19 May 2018 without moving the Supreme Court-mandated trust vote to prove his majority on the floor of state Assembly. He had just completed two-and-a-half days as chief minister.
"I am resigning from the chief minister's post and will go before the people again to seek justice against this anti-democratic government."BS Yediyurappa on 19 May, 2018
His resignation in 2018 was a major embarrassment to the BJP central leadership as it was confident of getting eight more legislators for a simple majority of 112.
The Congress and JD(S) had alleged that BJP leaders had contacted their MLAs, luring them with huge sums of money and ministerial berths.
Yediyurappa admitted to having contacted some legislators and giving them ‘assurances’, which the party later clarified as ‘appeals’ and not material benefits as alleged by the Opposition.
26 July, 2021: Two Years as CM
In 2018, Karnataka gave a fractured mandate in the Assembly polls. The BJP won 104 seats, Congress 80, and JD(S) 36 seats.
As the BJP could not prove its majority in the House, a Congress-JD(S) alliance came to power with Kumaraswamy as chief minister.
A year later, the BJP allegedly lured away 17 MLAs from both Congress and JD(S), to form its own government under Yediyurappa.
Just after one year into his governance, Yediyurappa started facing dissidence within the party.
BJP MLAs including Arvind Bellad and Basanagouda Patil Yatnal openly issued statements against Yediyurappa. The COVID crisis also amounted to charges of mismanagement. Yediyurappa's son BY Vijayendra was accused of running the government from behind the scenes.
By June 2021, the central leadership of the BJP started looking for a replacement.
After over 30 days of speculation and denial, Yediyurappa stepped down on the day he celebrated two years of his governance.
He thanked the central leadership, even as he was candid about the troubles he has been facing as the CM, every time he occupied the post.