Bangalore, May 29: Battling challenges and threats of being toppled, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, heading the first-ever BJP government in the south, is all set to complete three years in office tomorrow.
It has not been a smooth ride for Yeddyurappa who has managed to survive challenges to his leadership from within his own party twice as also threats from Governor H R Bhardwaj in the last three years.
In the last two years, he staved off efforts twice by BJP rebels to remove him from power, including by the powerful mining magnates of Bellary, the Reddy brothers, ministers Janardhana and Karunakara, and then by Bhardwaj, who had recommended imposition of President's rule in 2010 and this year.
But the Centre rejected the Governor's report on both occasions.
Besides, he had to tackle Opposition JDS and Congress, which had levelled allegations of corruption and nepotism against him and launched a series of protests.
But Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa, who changed his name to Yeddyurappa adding an extra ‘D' under the guidance of numerologists, has hung on to power.
Internal fissures and his own style of functioning brought Yeddyurappa to the edge of losing power when Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy led a political coup ferrying more than 40 BJP MLAs outside the state demanding change in leadership in October 2009.
As the political turmoil looked to touch a flashpoint, the BJP central leadership sought the intervention of Sushma Swaraj to mollify Reddy brothers and save its government.
Sushma, who has now sought to disown Reddy brothers, then played a key role in preventing Yeddyurappa from being ousted.
Yeddyurappa then faced another acid test when 11 rebel BJP MLAs and five independents supporting its government dashed off a letter to the Governor on October 6 last year, withdrawing support to the BJP government.
The Governor fixed October 12 as the deadline for Yeddyurappa to prove his majority but the 16 MLAs were disqualified by Speaker K G Bopaiah on October 10, giving a fresh lease of life to his government.
Yeddyurappa was forced to go in for the second trial of strength after Bhardwaj rejected the result of the first vote as “farce” and gave him another chance to prove his strength which the BJP accepted.
Bhardwaj had also recommended imposition of President's rule in Karnataka holding that the constitutional machinery had broken down. But Yeddyurappa won the vote of confidence and also got another fresh lease of life with the Centre rejecting Bhardwaj's report.
Yeddyurappa, who hails from one of the dominant Lingayat community—was also able to make his community men and seers rally around him to ensure that BJP high command bowed to his dictates rather than acting against him when he faced a spate of corruption and nepotism charges. PTI