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Home / India / Basavaraj Bommai picked as Karnataka CM, to take oath today

Basavaraj Bommai picked as Karnataka CM, to take oath today

The choice of the Yedi loyalist seemed to have been driven by a compulsion not to miff the former CM and the Lingayat community that has been BJP’s key support base
Basavaraj Bommai (left) with BS Yediyurappa after being chosen leader of the legislature party in Bangalore on Tuesday.
Basavaraj Bommai (left) with BS Yediyurappa after being chosen leader of the legislature party in Bangalore on Tuesday.
PTI

K.M. Rakesh   |   Bangalore   |   Published 28.07.21, 01:13 AM

B.S. Yediyurappa loyalist Basavaraj Bommai was on Tuesday picked as Karnataka chief minister, with the BJP appearing to have placated both the outgoing veteran and his influential Lingayat community.

The choice of Bommai, 61, seemed to have been driven by a compulsion not to miff the former chief minister and his powerful community that has been the BJP’s key support base for two decades and make up a fifth of Karnataka’s population.

Yediyurappa proposed Bommai’s name as the leader of the legislature party at a meeting overseen by Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and G. Kishan Reddy, paving the way for Bommai to take charge as chief minister.

Bommai later told reporters that the governor had invited him to form the government. “The governor has invited me to form the government and I alone will take the oath of office at 11am tomorrow (Wednesday),” he told reporters outside the Raj Bhavan about taking over as the 32nd chief minister of Karnataka.

“I will work under the guidance of my predecessor Yediyurappa for a pro-people government,” Bommai added.

“Because Yediyurappa volunteered to resign, the party has bestowed that responsibility on me. I want to assure the people of Karnataka that mine will be a pro-poor and pro-people government that will deliver justice to all sections of the society,” he said.

The arduous task of picking his council of ministers by overcoming pulls and pressures from aspirants — both BJP old-timers and new entrants from the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular who helped topple the alliance government in 2019 and bring the BJP back to power — now awaits him.

He is the son of former chief minister S.R. Bommai who had helmed the Janata Party government for eight months from August 1998 to April 1989. H.D. Deve Gowda and H.D. Kumaraswamy were the first father-son duo to head the Karnataka government.

While at least half a dozen names had been doing the rounds to replace Yediyurappa who resigned on Monday, the BJP’s central observers announced the successor at the legislature party meeting held at a Bangalore hotel on Tuesday evening.

The selection of Bommai is seen as a victory of sorts for Yediyurappa who prevailed upon the party to go for his loyalist. Hundreds of Lingayat pontiffs had also warned the BJP against inviting the community’s wrath by not opting for a chief minister from the community.

Yediyurappa, who had made the tearful announcement of quitting of his own volition on Monday two years into his stint, arrived at the meeting venue flashing the victory sign in a clear indication that his nominee Bommai would be the pick.

An engineering graduate, Bommai Jr was also part of the Janata parivar but left the Janata Dal United in 2008 to join the BJP. He has since been a close confidante of Yediyurappa and held the law and parliamentary affairs portfolio in the council of ministers dissolved on Monday.

A native of Dharwad, Bommai represents the Shiggaon Assembly constituency in Haveri district in north Karnataka, which is part of the Lingayat belt. A three-time MLA, Bommai had also been elected to the Legislative Council for two terms.

Bommai promised to take everyone along without any considerations. “I will take everyone along and work together for the people,” he told reporters.

“I had never expected this although I had a belief in my heart,” he said when asked if he had any inkling about being named the chief minister.

Bommai drove to the Raj Bhavan at night to meet governor Thaawar Chand Gehlot to fulfil the formality of staking claim to form the next government.

Yediyurappa and state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel were among those who accompanied the chief minister-elect.



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