BS Yediyurappa resigned on Monday from the post of Karnataka chief minister, ending all speculation around his exit. The four-time chief minister was in tears recalling his journey from a clerk to the post of chief minister, the BJP's first in the south. The 78-year-old BJP leader said that for him Karnataka was always the top priority, and it is for this reason that he chose his state over a cabinet berth at the Centre.
Yediyurappa, who submitted his resignation with the governor post noon on Monday, said: "When (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) was Prime Minister he asked me to be a minister at the Centre. But I said I will be in Karnataka."
Since then the BJP has grown in Karnataka, he said, adding: "It has always been an agnipariksha (trial by fire) for me. These last two years it was COVID."
BS Yediyurappa, who had earlier said that the party leadership will take a call on his exit, announced his resignation on Monday during a function celebrating the second-year anniversary of his government in Bengaluru.
"I’m not sad. I’m happy. I can’t thank in words Prime Minister Modi, Amit Shah, and (JP) Nadda for letting me be chief minister even though I was over 75 years,” he said in an emotional speech at the Vidhana Soudha premises. This was his fourth term - possibly his last, given the BJP's age limit of 75 years for posts.
He also tweeted a tribute to the BJP's icons and top leaders, soon after announcing his resignation.
For months, there was a buzz around his exit amid resentment against BSY, as Yediyurappa is often referred to as, and his son. The top leaders from Karnataka BJP alleged that it was BSY's son who was calling the shots in the government.
Yediyurappa, however, did not give any hints around his exit till this morning.
BSY, on Sunday evening, told reporters that he had heard "nothing till now" from the BJP leadership. This was followed by BJP president JP Nadda's statement, who said that Yediyurappa has done good work in the state.
BSY's last-minute meetings with party loyalists, influential members of the Lingayat community, which constitute 16 per cent of the state population and the BJP's strong voter base, was more of a show of strength and an effort to gather support, as much as he could.
Last week, he suddenly flew to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders. After his meeting, he said there was no discussion about his resignation.
Yediyurappa, the BJP's first Chief Minister in the south, took oath for the top post in 2019 after a dramatic coup that saw the Janata Dal Secular-Congress government crashing after the abrupt resignation of 17 rebels, of which some were later accommodated in the BSY's cabinet.