Home / Opinion / Letters to the editor: Simone Biles withdraws from Tokyo Olympics, B.S. Yediyurappa resigns

Letters to the editor: Simone Biles withdraws from Tokyo Olympics, B.S. Yediyurappa resigns

Readers write in from Calcutta, Maruthancode, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Chennai
Simone Biles.
Simone Biles.
File picture

The Telegraph   |   Published 29.07.21, 01:57 AM

Mind over matter

Sir — The decision of the American gymnast, Simone Biles, to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics during the artistic gymnastics team final took the world by surprise. Although it was initially reported that she had quit because of an injury, it was later clarified that Biles pulled out because of mental health concerns. The precedent for such an important move was recently set by the tennis star, Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open to prioritize her mental health. It takes incredible courage, especially for female athletes, to voluntarily withdraw from or sit out big competitions on grounds of mental health, primarily because of the criticism they inevitably receive, as Osaka did. They are, however, setting an important example for other sportspersons to follow.


Rashika Gupta,

End of an era

Sir — After prolonged suspense, B.S. Yediyurappa resigned from his post as the chief minister of Karnataka during a function celebrating the second anniversary of his government (“Southern spice”, July 28). The change in leadership did not come as a surprise; it was preceded by months of speculation. However, the claim that Yediyurappa stepped down voluntarily on health grounds is not true. To anyone paying attention to his outgoing speech, it was obvious that Yediyurappa was reluctant to step away from his position. Although Yediyurappa thanked Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, he also mentioned that he was not allowed to form the cabinet for a month and a half after the elections in spite of Karnataka being devastated by floods and rain. This hints at his glacial relations with the central leadership. 

The septuagenarian has sent out a clear message to his political detractors and the party high command that he is not among those who will join the margdarshak mandal, considered a ‘retirement home’ for party leaders who have crossed the age of 75. He has also made it clear that he will remain active in state politics and will not accept any assignment outside Karnataka. It is not yet known what the political calculations might have been for the ouster of the Lingayat strongman who is single-handedly responsible for building the presence of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the southern state. It remains to be seen how the BJP attempts to placate the Lingayat community which is miffed over the removal of its tallest leader. The claim that the BJP is ‘a party with a difference’ has been proved false by such an unceremonious change of guard. The saffron party is clearly blighted by factionalism, tussles for power and the practice of cutting regional leaders to size. In the light of all this, will the BJP be able to win the 2023 assembly elections and retain power in the state? 

G. David Milton,
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

Sir — The resignation of B.S. Yediyurappa has shifted the political dynamics in Karnataka. Basavaraj Bommai has now taken oath as the 23rd chief minister of the state. With the assembly elections just two years away, it would be important for the new chief minister to show that he is committed to honest and transparent leadership, unlike Yediyurappa, whose tenures were plagued by accusations of corruption. 

Although it is more than clear that the BJP is trying to pacify the Lingayat community with Bommai, Yediyurappa continues to be their most prominent leader, with the community’s seers rallying behind him. There is no doubt that the BJP in Karnataka will witness an intense power struggle in the coming months. 

Bhagwan Thadani,

Sir — Strong regional leaders have always worried the central command of major political parties in India. The emergence of regional leaders in the Congress after the demise of Indira Gandhi had caused much consternation among the party high command. Now it seems that the same worry might be plaguing BJP leaders. 

Since coming to power in 2014, the BJP has attempted to concentrate power in just a few hands. However, certain leaders, like B.S. Yediyurappa in Karnataka, had always commanded respect among the common people. It is clear that Yediyurappa had become too powerful; the BJP wanted to take him down a peg or two. While Yogi Adityanath is similarly powerful in Uttar Pradesh, he is far more committed to the Hindutva doctrine, thus endearing him to the high command. The removal of Yediyurappa from a position of power does not bode well for the BJP. As the most popular party leader in Karnataka, he has the potential to determine the results of the next assembly polls. 

R. Narayanan, 
Navi Mumbai

Sir — The saffron party has often publicly accused the Congress leadership of being subservient to the whims of the Gandhis. But is the BJP under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah any different? B.S. Yediyurappa may have said that the decision to step down as chief minister was voluntary, but this is far from the truth. His speech was indicative of his less-than-friendly relations with the BJP high command. The current situation in Karnataka is quite volatile. The Lingayat community will be sure to make its displeasure known in the next elections.  

Ravichandran Iyer,

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