Karnataka CM Yediyurappa meets PM Modi. Image source: B.S. Yediyurappa Twitter.
Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader BS Yediyurappa said he is resigning as Karnataka Chief Minister on July 26, the day his government completed two years in office. Yediyurappa broke down in the state assembly while announcing his resignation.
"I have decided to resign. I will meet the Governor after lunch," Yediyurappa declared in a tearful speech, according to NDTV.
Yediyurappa's anticipated resignation was suggested by the party leadership during his recent visit to New Delhi, according to the sources.
"It has been an honour to have served the state for the past two years. I have decided to resign as the Chief Minister of Karnataka. I am humbled and sincerely thank the people of the state for giving me the opportunity to serve them,"Yediyurappa said in a tweet later.
Four-term Karnataka CM Yediyurappa, 78, had, however, denied a leadership change after his return to Karnataka from New Delhi last week. But an audio clip leaked on July 18 had led to political buzz again on the leadership issue. He, however, kept people guessing on July 25 by hinting that he was waiting for a word from BJP's central leadership in Delhi.
"Nobody pressurised me to resign. I did it on my own so that someone else can take over as CM after completion of 2 years of govt. I'll work to bring BJP back in power in the next election. I've not given name of anyone who should succeed me," the outgoing CM said.
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Amid speculations about change in guard in Karnataka, Karnataka Murugesh Nirani arrived in the national capital on July 25 to meet BJP leaders, according to the news agency PTI.
The visit assumes significance because Nirani, the Minister for Mines, who hails from the Lingayat community like Yediyurappa is seen as one of the front runners for the post of Chief Minister along with BJP general secretary CT Ravi, Union minister Pralhad Joshi and Karanataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai. Joshi has, however, denied changes of him becoming the Chief Minister.
Sources said Yediyurappa has been asked to go by the party's high command over his age, health concerns, and the need for an image makeover for the BJP government. He also faces allegations of corruption leveled against his family members.
Also, read: Politics | It’s BS Yediyurappa vs BJP’s central leadership in Karnataka
The central leadership, sources said, hopes that Yediyurappa will not create any hurdles for the party this time unlike in 2012 when he severed links with the BJP to float the Karnataka Janata Paksha.
On July 25, BJP president J P Nadda praised Yediyurappa and dismissed suggestions of a crisis in Karnataka. “He (Yediyurappa) has done good work. Karnataka is running well. Yediyurappaji is handling things in his own way,” Nadda said in Goa.
But Yediyurappa said that Nadda’s words of appreciation for his government were not linked to his decision to resign
Yediyurappa has been CM of Karnataka for four terms. He was forced to quit as CM in 2011 after serving since 2008 when the Karnataka Lokayukta named him in a report on illegal mining in the state. He was also prosecuted by the CBI but the case was quashed by a sessions court in Bengaluru. He has been the CM for a week in 2007 and for three days in 2018.
Also, read: BJP faces a Catch-22 situation in Karnataka
In the outgoing stint, Yediyurappa took oath as the 31st CM of Karnataka on July 26, 2019, three days after the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the state.