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Yeddy's 3 years in office: Down but NEVER out

Last updated on: May 29, 2011 17:55 IST

Yeddy's 3 years in office: Down but NEVER out

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Battling challenges and threats of being toppled, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, heading the first-ever Bharatiya Janata Party government in the south, is all set to complete three years in office on Monday.

It has not been a smooth ride for Yeddyurappa who has managed to survive challenges to his leadership from within his own party twice as also threats from Governor H R Bhardwaj in the last three years.

In the last two years, he staved off efforts twice by BJP rebels to remove him from power, including by the powerful mining magnates of Bellary, the Reddy brothers, ministers Janardhana and Karunakara, and then by Bhardwaj, who had recommended imposition of President's rule in 2010 and this year. But the Centre rejected the governor's report on both occasions.

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Image: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa

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Oct 2009: Janardhana Reddy demands Yeddyurappa's ouster

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Besides, he had to tackle Opposition Janata Dal-Secular and Congress, which had levelled allegations of corruption and nepotism against him and launched a series of protests. But Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa, who changed his name to Yeddyurappa adding an extra 'D' under the guidance of numerologists, has hung on to power.

Internal fissures and his own style of functioning brought Yeddyurappa to the edge of losing power when Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy led a political coup ferrying more than 40 BJP MLAs outside the state demanding change in leadership in October 2009.

As the political turmoil looked to touch a flashpoint, the BJP central leadership sought the intervention of Sushma Swaraj to mollify Reddy brothers and save its government.

Swaraj, who has now sought to disown Reddy brothers, then played a key role in preventing Yeddyurappa from being ousted.


Image: Karnataka Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy

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Oct 2010: Speaker K G Bopaiah disqualified 16 MLAs

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Yeddyurappa then faced another acid test when 11 rebel BJP MLAs and five independents supporting its government dashed off a letter to the governor on October 6 last year, withdrawing support to the BJP government.

The governor fixed October 12 as the deadline for Yeddyurappa to prove his majority but the 16 MLAs were disqualified by Speaker K G Bopaiah on October 10, giving a fresh lease of life to his government.

Yeddyurappa was forced to go in for the second trial of strength after Bhardwaj rejected the result of the first vote as "farce" and gave him another chance to prove his strength, which the BJP accepted.

Bhardwaj had also recommended imposition of president's rule in Karnataka holding that the constitutional machinery had broken down. But Yeddyurappa won the vote of confidence and also got another fresh lease of life with the Centre rejecting Bhardwaj's report.

Yeddyurappa, who hails from one of the dominant Lingayat community -- was also able to make his community men and seers rally around him to ensure that BJP high command bowed to his dictates rather than acting against him when he faced a spate of corruption and nepotism charges.

With the Lingayat community rallying around him, Yeddyurappa was able to convey an impression to the BJP top brass that any action against him would invite trouble in the form of Lingayats moving away from the saffron party.


Image: The Karnataka assembly

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May 2011: Bhardwaj recommends President's rule in Karnataka

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Every time, the JDS and Congress tried to bring up charges of corruption, Yeddyurappa blunted the attack citing the "corruption" that prevailed during the regimes of these parties when they ruled the state.

"Have they have not indulged in such acts. I will bare it all and expose them. It is Congress and JDS responsible for illegal mining," Yeddyurappa had said, lashing out at the two parties.

Yeddyurappa faced another crisis this month when Bhardwaj recommended dismissal of his government and imposition of President's rule following the May 13 Supreme Court verdict quashing the Assembly Speaker's order on disqualification of 11 BJP rebel MLAs and five independents.

But with the rebel MLAs extending support to him and the Centre rejecting Bhardwaj's report, Yeddyurappa emerged from the crisis triumphant.

Image: Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj

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Operation Lotus, a highlight of Yeddyurappa's reign

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Political observers say that Yeddyurappa's three years in office will also be remembered for the process of luring opposition MLAs to BJP under 'Operation Lotus', getting them to resign their membership and contest the by-polls, to shore up the party's strength in the Assembly.

The Opposition is believed to have lost 20 of its MLAs to the saffron party under 'Operation Lotus'.

Former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who once shared power with BJP under coalition arrangement, levelled charges against Yeddyurappa, exposing various alleged scams with "documentary evidence", but none of them could bring down Yeddyurappa.



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K'taka CM exposed Gowda family's alleged scams

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An unfazed Yeddyurappa also hit back, exposing the Gowda family's alleged misdeeds when they were in power and their land dealings, virtually silencing the family of JDS chief H D Deve Gowda.

Though the administration suffered during the political instability and the political war with Bhardwaj, the Yeddyurappa government's sops like extending farm credit at one per cent interest and Rs 10,000 dole to small and marginal farmers, have been praised by people.

Besides, distribution of bicycles to students and sarees to women under 'Bhagyalakshmi girl child insurance schemes' has also earned kudos.

Yeddyurappa is also fighting legal battles over cases filed against him by two advocates, who got the Governor's sanction to prosecute him. The outcome of the court verdict will have an impact on his continuance, but till then, Yeddyurappa remains an unquestionable leader for BJP in the south.

Image: JDS chief H D Deve Gowda

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