Lingayat strongman and former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa is back as the Karnataka BJP president for the fourth time. The BJP central leadership finally named Yeddyurappa to lead the party in the state, where the ruling Congress is in tatters with factionalism and MLAs fighting for a cabinet berth reaching its peak.
Interestingly, Yeddyurappa, the Shimoga MP, who had been kept outside the Union cabinet over his pending corruption cases (as he had to step down as the CM in 2011 and spend 21 days in jail over illegal land notification case), became BJP's best bet even as the party hopes to recapture Karnataka in the 2018 Assembly elections.
To take over the reins of the state unit, Yeddyurappa had to fight out younger aspirants—Prahlad Joshi (who was seeking an extension of his tenure as BJP chief), MP Nalinkumar Kateel and MLA CT Ravi.
The mass appeal of the Septuagenarian, the sizeable Lingayat population in the state (a crucial votebase of the BJP) and the Congress' increasing appeasement of the Ahinda (minorities, backward classes and dalits) worked in favour of Yeddyurappa.
"My one-point agenda is to uproot the corrupt Congress in the state and bring BJP back to power. I am grateful to Amit Shah ji and Prime minister Narendra Modi ji for reposing faith in me. I will not disappoint them. We have a strong team. I will begin touring the state reeling under drought and acute power shortage without wasting a day," said Yeddyurappa, who received a rousing welcome at the Bengaluru airport by party workers and leaders on Friday late evening.
The euphoria continued at the Party office in Malleswaram, where partyworkers, MLAs, BJP MPs and ministers including Ananth Kumar and D.V. Sadananda Gowda were in attendance, hailing and cheering the leader, who is expected to galvanise support and consolidate majority Hindu votes in the next Assembly polls.
"Yeddyurappa ji will lead the party to power and he will be the next chief minister of Karnataka," said union minister Ananth Kumar.
The Karnataka High Court's quashing of proceedings in cases relating to 15 FIRs filed against him by Lokayukta and also declaring the Governor’s sanction for prosecution (during Governor Hans Raj Bharadwaj tenure) in the corruption cases as untenable last January, paved way for tainted leader to aspire for bigger responsibility.