At 78, BS Yediyurappa proves to be a shrewd survivor | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Just days after BS Yediyurappa was sworn in under dramatic circumstances as chief minister for the fourth time in July 2019, there was speculation in political circles that he may not survive for more than a year.
But, Yediyurappa, who celebrates his 78th birthday today, has not only proved them wrong but also established himself as a shrewd survivor as he nears two years in office even as the Opposition waits for his fall. By placating party men when required and putting them in their place when the situation demands, he’s having the last laugh.
“When Yediyurappa was not getting support from brass in his first year in office, we thought it was all over for him. However, he has managed to become like the famed Channapatna doll — whichever way one pushes it down, it’ll bounce back to stand erect,” said a senior BJP MLA.
For Yediyurappa, the past 19 months at the helm have been challenging. He had to be face trial by fire for about a year because of drought and unprecedented floods followed by Covid-19 pandemic and its economic impact.
Politically, the CM had to tread cautiously before he could assert himself. He has maintained the core cabinet, barring some changes and inclusions necessitated by political exigencies.
Yediyurappa has not only kept defectors from Congress and JD(S) in good humour but also made peace with his party detractors like CP Yogeshwara, Murugesh Nirani, Umesh Katti and Aravind Limbavalli by accommodating them in the cabinet and kept at bay potential challenger Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, experts said.
His staying power probably stems from the backing of his younger son BY Vijayendra, who has been a rock.
Bigger challenges await him as he aims to step into his third year in office. Yediyurappa has faced flak for the government’s performance, not just from the opposition but from his own party MLAs. His image of being the undisputed Lingayat leader is now being questioned by Yatnal. He is also caught in the growing demand for change in reservation categories by state’s powerful communities, including Panchamsali Lingayats, Vokkaligas and Kurubas.
He’ll have to manage growing dissent in the party which is expected to erupt after he presents the state budget on March 8.

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Sagar Biswas

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