Moments after HD Kumaraswamy lost the confidence vote in the Karnataka Assembly, BS Yeddyurappa spoke as if he was already chief minister designate. "It is the victory of democracy. People were fed up with the Kumaraswamy government. I want to assure the people of Karnataka that a new era of development will start now," he said. He spelled out his priorities for farmers and other sections of society.
After speaking to the media, he drove to a hotel to hold an impromptu meeting of the BJP legislature. Back in New Delhi, party president Amit Shah and Union minister JP Nadda were busy holding meetings, engaging with other senior leaders and taking views on all possible permutations and combinations that may emerge in Bengaluru while forming the new BJP-led government.
There is hardly any doubt, at least till now that Yeddyurappa, current Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly and Karanataka BJP president will be re-elected as the leader of the legislature party and become the new chief minister of the state. He will stake his claim to the governor on Wednesday afternoon after formalities within his party are completed.
Should that happen, he will be first leader in the state who will be chief minister for the fourth time.
Second and more importantly from the BJP perspective, the party leadership — Narendra Modi and Shah — will be making an exception for Yeddyurappa vis-à-vis the 75-year retirement norm. Born in February 1943, Yeddyurappa is already 76 — a year older than the cut-off, as per the party's unwritten rule. It should be noted that Anandiben Patel had resigned from the post of Gujarat chief minister post after turning 75. Union ministers in the previous Modi regime — Najma Heptullah and GM Siddeshwara — had to resign after they turned 75. But then the leadership made an exception to this rule for Kalraj Mishra, veteran Brahmin leader from Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP's act of making an exception to its rule for Yeddyurappa (in case that happens), will speak volumes of the importance and indispensability of this powerful Lingayat leader. Sources said there is no alternative to him in the state, both in terms of acceptability within and outside of the party, as also in terms of connecting with the masses.
In all likelihood, he will take oath as chief minister on Thursday. He will perhaps be the only one to take oath, as he had done in May last year. Since the BJP does not have majority on its own in the 224-member Assembly, the Council of Ministers will be sworn in after he wins the mandatory confidence vote in the Assembly.
The BJP currently has 105 members in the Assembly. The fate of 20 MLAs including 13 from the Congress and three from the JD(S), as also four other MLAs who abstained on some pretext has to be decided. The lone BSP MLA who was expelled on Tuesday by Mayawati will join the BJP.
It is likely that before new chief minister moves a vote of confidence, he will seek a vote of no confidence in the present Speaker and have a new Speaker elected from his own party to conduct proceedings. The role of the Speaker, as seen in the past three weeks during which the Karnataka drama unfolded, is critical.
Updated Date: Jul 24, 2019 08:18:28 IST