I am a free man now, says Yeddyurappa

Bangalore: An emotional Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Sunday said he is leaving office “happily” without being hurt and saw it as an opportunity to work “freely” to strengthen the party.

His voice choking, 68-year-old Yeddyurappa said as Chief Minister he felt like his hands and legs had been tied and he had to discharge his duties from Vidhan Soudha, the state secretariat, within “limitations”.

“From now onwards, I can happily and freely meet people… (those of) backward classes… scheduled castes…scheduled tribes…work for the welfare of women without any obstacles and anxiety”, he said, describing it as a “golden opportunity”.

The BJP leader was speaking at a felicitation function, organised by the Balija community, which was recently extended benefits in education under backward classes category 2A, withdrawing it from 3A, by his government.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said there is no need for anybody to feel that he had been hurt because he had to leave office and declared that he is “quitting happily and with satisfaction”.

In what appeared to be his “farewell speech”, Mr. Yeddyurappa said he would commence a tour of the State from Monday, visiting “villages-after-villages” and strengthen the party.

Listing the achievements of his 38-month tenure as Chief Minister, he said that in fiscal management “the State is number one, while communal harmony and law and order situation is good”.

“Wish of the people is that BJP should continue to be in power for the next 15-20 years,” Mr. Yeddyurappa said, adding, he would work towards that goal, as well as to realise the aim to win 150 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats in the next elections.

He said he never dreamt of becoming Chief Minister, and is grateful that from being a mere municipal councillor in Shikaripura in Shimoga district, he rose to this position.

“In the last 40 years, I staged agitations by mobilising farmers as a ‘madman’ (driven by passion)”.