Bangaluru: He has been controversy’s favourite child. And controversy did not leave him alone even during his ascent to the throne of Karnataka amid a murky legal battle in the country’s top-most court. From the humdrum existence as a government clerk and a hardware store owner to becoming the chief minister of Karnataka for a second time, BS Yeddyurappa has navigated the choppy waters of politics with the consummate ease of a seasoned oarsman, defying tidal waves of adversity.
A hardboiled RSS Swayamsevak, 75-year-old Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa, joined the Hindu right organisation when he was barely 15, and cut his political teeth in the Jana Sangh, the BJP’s forerunner, in his hometown Shikaripura in Shivamogga district. He became the Jana Sangh’s Shikaripura taluka chief in the early 1970s.
Currently a Lok Sabha member from Shivamogga, he was first elected to the Legislative Assembly from Shikaripura in 1983 and went on to win it five more times. The Lingayat strongman is known to have espoused the cause of farmers, something which was repeatedly referred to by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his election speeches.
A Bachelor of Arts, Yeddyurappa, who was jailed during Emergency, worked as a clerk in the social welfare department before taking up a similar job at a rice mill in his native Shikaripura. Later, he set up his own hardware shop in Shivamogga. Yeddyurappa may have landed in the hot seat in 2004 itself when the BJP emerged as the single largest party, but the Congress and JD(S) of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda cobbled together an alliance, and a government was formed under Dharam Singh.
Known for his political sagacity, Yeddyurappa joined hands with H D Kumaraswamy, Deve Gowda’s son, in 2006 and brought down the Dharam Singh government after the chief minister was indicted by Lokayukta in an alleged mining scam.