Wednesday, 28 July 2021 | Deepak K Upreti | New Delhi
Basavaraj Bommai, a Lingayat, to take oath as CM today
Basavaraj S Bommai, 61, the State Home Minister, a “Lingayat” by caste and a close confidant of BS Yediyurappa was on Tuesday declared the new Chief Minister of Karnataka after BJP legislature party met at the State capital.
Bommai is expected to take oath of Chief Ministership on Wednesday.
The name of Bommai, the son of former State Chief Minister SR Bommai (a Janata parivar leader) who had joined the BJP in 2008, was proposed by Yediyurappa, the “Lingayat” strongman and former Chief Minister.
The new Chief Minister is a two-time MLC and three-time MLA from Shiggaon in Haveri district.
“It is a big responsibility in the given situation. I will strive to work for the welfare of the poor. It will be pro-people and pro-poor people governance,” said the Karnataka CM-elect soon after he was elected to the post.
The outgoing Chief Minister, Yediyurappa, said, “We have unanimously elected Bommai as CM….we are very happy.”
The MLAs’ meeting at Bengaluru’s Hotel Capitol that elected Bommai was attended by the Central observers — Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, G Kishan Reddy and general secretary and State-in-charge Arun Singh. Pradhan announced the name of Bommai as a successor to Yediyurappa amid loud cheers and clapping.
By picking-up Bommai, a Sadara “Lingayat”, the BJP seemed to have satisfied the caste dynamics of Karnataka, pre-empted influential community’s wrath, and agreed to Yediyurappa’s choice of the CM candidate.
Yediyurappa himself belongs to the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community which is seen to be the BJP’s core support base in Karnataka.
Over last six decades eight of the 20 Chief Ministers of Karnataka hailed from the Lingayat community.
The decision to appoint a relatively “newcomer” to the party, who is not a hard-core Hindutva leader, is seen as a very pragmatic step that placed faith on a leader who could shift and shuffle well in the turbulent and divided BJP State unit with at least 17 former Congress-JDS MLAs keeping the Government afloat.
Besides Covid-19, Bommai will need all skills to keep all factions happy when he forms his Cabinet shortly.
Bommai started his political career with the Janata Dal and worked with senior leaders, including HD Devegowda and Ramakrishna Hegde.
He left the Janata Dal (United) and joined the BJP in 2008 and thus, interesting carries a “secular past”.