BS Yediyurappa has stepped down from the post of Chief Minister of Karnataka, right on the day suggested by initial reports on the situation. Yediyurappa resigned on the day of his term’s second anniversary. In his speech announcing the resignation, he thanked PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP President JP Nadda for giving him the opportunity to serve as the CM of Karnataka. He reiterated that he was voluntarily stepping down and that the party did not force him to do so. BSY broke down during his speech and said that his term was no less than an “Agnipariksha”(trial by fire). He said that he will meet the Governor after lunch to formalize the resignation.
With this resignation, the speculations of who will be the next CM of Karnataka have gained momentum. The anger of the prominent Lingayat community leaders and seers makes choosing another face from the community a wise decision for the BJP central leadership. The Lingayat community is the most prominent community in the state and represents 17% of the total population. This community decides the outcome on nearly 100 assembly seats, out of the total seats, of Karnataka. But it would be unwise to think that the party would not go for a figure with proven leadership capacities, even if it has to scout for them outside the Lingayat community.
CONTENDERS IN THE RACE TO REPLACE BSY
BL Santosh started as a full-time RSS worker in the year 1993. In 2006, he moved to BJP and became the General Secretary(Organization) of the Karnataka state unit. He remained in the post till 2014 when he was made the Joint General Secretary(Organization) of the national unit of BJP. Then in 2019, he was promoted as the General Secretary of the party. Attributing to his seniority and experience in both the BJP and RSS makes it likely that he would be the top choice of the party leadership, as he has a massive influence in the Karnataka BJP. The only factor against Santosh seems to be his caste. Karnataka last saw a Brahmin Chief Minister in 1988.
Pralhad Joshi is currently a Union Minister. An MP from northwest Karnataka’s Dharwad, Joshi is also very close to PM Modi and is a well-known name in the party. He has served as the state party president between 2012 and 2016. On being asked by the media about his possibility of becoming the next Karnataka CM, he said that any decision regarding his role would be acceptable to him. But, like BL Santosh, Joshi is also a Brahmin and faces the same challenge as far as his elevation to CM post is concerned.
CT Ravi is from the Vokkaliga community of southern Karnataka. The community dominates the region, where the BJP aims to gain a significant presence. Ravi is currently the National General Secretary of the party and an MLA from Karnataka’s Chikmagalur, and he has already proved his strategic thinking by helping four candidates of the party win seats in the Tamil Nadu assembly elections. Also, making Ravi the Chief Minister would be easier for the party as he is already an MLA in the state.
Basavaraj Bommai is the current Home Minister of Karnataka and another face from the Lingayat community. He is the son of former Karnataka CM SR Bommai. Earlier media reports suggested that Yediyurappa could suggest Basavraj’s name if the party leadership asks for his opinion.
Party leadership is still silent on the resignation of BS Yediyurappa and his eventual successor. No clear reactions, for their names doing rounds for the post, have come from the above party leaders themselves. Most of them, in their own words, say that they will decide whatever fate the party decides for them.