Mining scam ends Yeddyurappa innings as CM

Bangalore: Rocked by a spate of scams and in the wake of a damning indictment by a Lokayukta report on illegal mining, the 38-month tenure of Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister of the first ever BJP government in the South came to an abrupt end on Monday.

Today`s resignation brings the curtain down on the rule of Yeddyurappa whose term in office was marked by intermittent rebellion from his own party men seeking his ouster and opposition protests demanding his resignation over allegations of corruption, nepotism and favouritism.

An ardent RSS activist, Yeddyurappa dragged his feet over putting in his papers initially, but gave in to the diktat of the party high command, after it took a serious view of his defiance.

Credited with playing a pivotal role in installing the maiden BJP government in the South, Yeddyurappa began his innings on a controversial note facing huge public outcry for the police firing on farmers in Haveri, a north Karnataka district town, within ten days of assuming office in 2008.

Yeddyurappa faced a political coup staged by Bellary mining magnate G Janardhana Reddy in September 2009, after he ferried more than 60 BJP MLAs to Hyderabad and Goa seeking his ouster at a time when most parts of North Karnataka was devastated by floods following heavy rain.

The BJP high command`s intervention managed to defuse the crisis and helped him stay in power but he had to bow to the demand of rebels to sacrifice his trusted aide Shobha Karandlaje from the ministry and also a key official in his secretariat.

Even as Yeddyurappa began to consolidate his position, the opposition JDS accused him of nepotism and favouritism by denotifying lands and allotting lands in favour of his sons, son-in-law and other family members.

Unfazed by former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy`s attack on him, Yeddyurappa also hit back at the JDS leader`s family levelling similar allegations against them also.

The 68-year-old Yeddyurappa faced yet another threat to his chair when 11 BJP rebels and five independents, who supported his government, shot off a letter to Governor H R Bhardwaj on October six last year, withdrawing support.

Yeddyurappa had to face floor test twice in a gap of three days between October 11-14. The Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah`s order disqualifying the rebels, was ultimately set aside by the Supreme Court during this May.

Bhardwaj had recommended dismissal of Yeddyurappa Government in October last, but the Centre gave it a new lease of life rejecting the Governor`s report.

Soon after the Apex Court restored the assembly membership of 16 disqualified members, Bhardwaj again recommended President`s rule, but Yeddyurappa managed to stay on as the Centre refused to act on that report.

The BJP high command, which had rallied behind Yeddyurappa in the last two years, rejecting the rebels` demand for a change of guard, however, chose to axe the Lingayat strong man, once the Lokayukta final report on illegal mining indicted him.

From a rice mill clerk and a farmers` leader to heading the first BJP Government in the South, Yeddyurappa has been a master survivor emerging unscathed through much turbulence in his three years in office before the Lokayukta report on illegal mining scam did him in.

Yeddyurappa ushered in a bumper harvest for the BJP in the state during the 2008 Assembly Elections.

Always sporting his trademark white safari suit, he was also briefly the Chief Minister in November 2007 before the coalition government with JD(S) collapsed following what he called "betrayal" by its leader and his predecessor Kumaraswamy.

Yeddyurappa, born into a poor family in Bookanakere village in Mandya district, had struggled for over 40 years in BJP to become the Chief Minister.

Yeddyurappa, whose family migrated to Shimoga district from Mandya, began his political career as an elected member of the Shikaripura Municipal Council in 1975.

The struggles he launched for the welfare of landless and the downtrodden, propelled Yeddyurappa into the state`s political landscape when he entered the state assembly from Shikaripura in 1983.

Yeddyurappa, who also served as the state unit party president for two terms, led BJP from the ranks of opposition to power under a coalition arrangement with JDS in 2006.

He made the "betrayal" by JDS to transfer power to BJP in 2007, a major poll plank and steered his party to a comfortable win in the 2008 elections, which also realised the party`s dream of forming its own government in the South.

With Congress and JDS levelling a series of allegations against him, much of the last three years was spent on warding off their attacks rather than on governance.

Yeddyurappa is also the first ever chief minister in Karnataka to garner the support of his community seers to rally around him.

Demitting office under a cloud, Yeddyurappa may have to wait for his time to come as the top BJP leaders have reportedly assured him that he would be reinstated if he comes out clean from the cases confronting him.

Yeddyurappa, who began his rule on sticky wicket in May 2008 falling short of a majority in the Assembly, cobbled up a slender majority by luring opposition MLAs and independents who were made to resign and contest bypolls.

His gambit called `Operation Lotus` paid off in enabling the BJP to secure the majority in the 224-member House.

He rose to prominence when he helped JD(S)` Kumaraswamy to bring down the coalition government of Dharam Singh of Congress. Kumaraswamy formed the government with the help of the BJP headed by Yeddyurappa.

A deal was struck between the JD(S) and BJP, which specified that Kumaraswamy would be the Chief Minister for the first 20 months, after which Yeddyurappa would succeed him for the remaining 20 months of the tenure of the Legislature.

Yeddyurappa was nominated as the Deputy Chief Minister as well as the finance minister in Kumaraswamy`s Government.

However in October 2007, when Yeddyurappa`s turn of becoming the Chief Minister was supposed to start, Kumaraswamy refused to resign from his post.

This forced Yeddyurappa and all of the ministers from his party to resign and on October 5, he met the governor and formally withdrew the BJP`s support from the government.

Karnataka was put under President`s rule which was revoked on November 7.

During the period of the President`s rule, the JD(S) and the BJP decided to bury their differences and this paved the way for Yeddyurappa to become the Chief Minister.

Yeddyurappa was sworn in on November 12, 2007.

However, JDS refused to support his government over disagreement on sharing of ministries which made him resign from his post on November 19, 2007.

Born to Siddalingappa and Puttathayamma in Bookanakere in Mandya district in the state on February 27, 1943, the BJP leader lost his mother when he was just four-years-old.

However, his determination to rise above all odds saw him overcoming the personal tragedy and move on in life.

In 1965, he got a job of a first-division clerk in the social welfare department but instead shifted to Shikaripur where he joined as a clerk at his relative?s rice mill. In 1967, Yeddyurappa married Mythradevi, the daughter of the owner of the rice mill Veerabhadra Shastri. He later set up a hardware shop in Shimoga.

Yeddyurappa`s true political career began when in 1983 he was first elected to the Assembly and he has represented Shikaripur constituency from then on for five times.

Born on February 27, 1943 Yeddyurappa has two sons and three daughters. In 2004, his wife died after falling into and drowning in a nearby well under mysterious circumstances. No case was registered.