Former home minister Basavaraj Bommai (61), a Lingayat leader and a close confidante of outgoing chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, has been unanimously elected as the chief minister of Karnataka.
In the BJP legislature party meeting held in the presence of BJP national general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Arun Singh, BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel, BJP national general secretary C. T. Ravi, and two central observers appointed by the Central Parliamentary Board— Dharmendra Pradhan and G. Kishan Reddy—in Bengaluru on Tuesday evening, Yediyurappa proposed Bommai's name.
The proposal was supported by Govind Karjol, R. Ashok, K.S. Eshwarappa, B. Sriramulu, S.T. Somashekhar and Poornima Srinivas.
"In keeping with the high tradition of the party, Yediyurappa expressed his willingness and desire before the party president J.P. Nadda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders that he would step down as the chief minister. Knowing Karnataka politics, I can tell you there is no replacement for Yediyurappa in Karnataka and the BJP. With grace, he has set a new politics and a new model for all of us by resigning from the chief ministership to create new leadership," said Pradhan, addressing the legislators prior to proposing the name of the next legislature party leader.
Bommai is the son of former chief minister of Karnataka late S.R. Bommai, who set up the Janata Party along with J.H. Patel, H.D. Deve Gowda and Ramakrishna Hegde.
The CM-designate Bommai, who thanked his party's central leaders and Yediyurappa, said, "This was totally unexpected. I had belief in my hard work. I will try to implement the schemes announced in the budget effectively."
A three-time MLA from Shiggaon in Haveri district, Bommai who joined the BJP in 2008, was in the Janata Dal (United) and served as an MLC for two terms (in 1998 and 2004) from Dharwad local authorities constituency.
Bommai, a Sadar Lingayat and a graduate in mechanical engineering, has held plum portfolios like water resources, law and parliamentary affairs in the Yediyurappa cabinet.
"Congratulations to Shri @BSBommai on being elected as the new Chief Minister of Karnataka. I am confident you will lead Karnataka in the path of development and fulfill the aspirations of people of the state," the outgoing chief minister said in a tweet.
The BJP's national organising secretary B.L. Santhosh tweeted, " Congratulations Sri @BSBommai on being elected as the legislative party leader of @BJP4Karnataka & CM Elect . A seasoned politician & an old hand at administration , he will take the state to new heights in development."