Two months ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections, Lingayat strongman and four-time chief minister of the state BS Yediyurappa gave his "farewell speech" in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, 22 February.
Stating that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will win the polls, the former CM said, “This is my farewell speech because I won’t enter this Assembly again. I have already announced that I will not contest the election this time...But until my last breath, I will actively work for the success of the party. And, not just in the coming election, but also the one after that if God grants me that strength."
Dismissing the Opposition's claims of BJP sidelining him, Yediyurappa said, “I want to make it clear that I have been sworn as chief minister four times. No other leader has been given these many opportunities. I will remain eternally grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi."
The 79-year-old Lingayat leader, who began his electoral politics as 'Purasabha' president in Shikaripura in Shivamogga district, was first elected to the Assembly from Shikaripura in 1983 and went on to win eight times from there.
'Let There Be No Doubt'
Encouraging BJP workers, Yediyurappa said, "I want to tell all our (BJP) MLAs on this side (treasury benches) to work with confidence and prepare for election, many from that side (opposition) are ready to come with us, if you are confident, we can take them along and bring back BJP to power with a clear majority."
Yediyurappa had announced in July 2022 that he will be vacating his Shikaripura Assembly seat, from where his younger son and the party's state Vice President BY Vijayendra will be contesting, if the high command agrees.
The leader added:
Targeting Leader of Opposition (LoP) Siddaramaiah, Yediyurappa questioned him on why he was planning to contest from Kolar and not Badami, where he had won in the last election.
"Does it mean you (Siddaramaiah) have not done development work in the constituency, or are you lacking confidence about winning from there again?" Yediyurappa asked.
While Siddaramaiah was not in the House while Yediyurappa spoke, the Deputy Leader of Opposition UT Khader intervened and said the Congress Legislature Party leader enjoys the public trust and popularity and can contest and win from any of the 224 assembly segments.
The Karnataka Assembly elections are scheduled to take place before May this year to elect the new 224-member Legislative Assembly.
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