Residents of Shikaripura, outgoing Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa’s home constituency, shut down all shops and commercial establishments on Monday as a mark of protest.
Prior to the beginning of his political career, he was drafted by the Karnataka RSS pracharak in Shikaripura, where he got married and settled. Yediyurappa began his electoral politics by getting elected to the Shikaripura City Council and then became its president.
After his successful stint in City Council politics, he was elected from the Shikaripura Assembly constituency in 1983 and went on to win eight times from the same seat.
Though he was a member of the RSS from the beginning, he never tried to position himself as a hardliner; instead, he carefully elevated himself as a farmers’ leader in the state.
From the beginning, the Bharatiya Janata Party has banked heavily on the Lingayat community as its core vote bank. The chief architect of this vote bank was late Union minister H. N. Ananth Kumar, who during 2002-2004 as the BJP state unit chief along with Yediyurappa, was able to attract a large section of followers of late former chief minister Ramkrishna Hegde who had fallen out with former prime minister H. D. Deve Gowda and formed the Janata Dal (U). In this period, the BJP’s tally jumped from 40 to 79 members in the Assembly and Lok Sabha seats from 7 to 17.
Yediyurappa prior to 2004, had worked hard to increase the party’s seats from merely 12 to 40 with his pro-farmer agitations. However, even to this date, the BJP’s real strength remains anywhere between 30 to 50 seats, but for the large chunk of JD(U) leaders migrating to the BJP in the north-Karnataka region, who readily accepted Yediyurappa as their leader after Hegde’s demise.
Kumar, who was a Brahmin, enjoyed a very good equation with Yediyurappa till 2004. Their relationship soured later, as Yediyurappa was being seen as the tallest Lingayat leader after he was able to bring the party near to victory by winning 110 seats in the 2008 Assembly polls. However, he remained a jinxed leader, who could not complete his term though he was sworn in as Chief Minister of Karnataka on four occasions.
After months of speculation over his resignation, Yediyurappa on Monday announced his resignation and put in his papers before the Governor. As his government completed two years in office, Yediyurappa thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president, J.P. Nadda and BJP chief strategist and Union home minister Amit Shah.