Who Will Succeed Lingayat Stalwart BSY As Chief Minister Of Karnataka?
Of the top runners for the post are Murugesh Nirani, Basavaraj Bommai and Aravind Bellad.
It is almost certain now that the next chief minister of Karnataka will be yet again a Lingayat leader. But with multiple contenders from the same community, which is said to constitute almost 17 per cent of the state’s population, all eyes are now glued to watch out for what emerges out of the legislature party meeting that is being held in capital city Bengaluru.
This meeting will be followed by the BJP Parliamentary board meeting that will see a final decision being taken.
The Bengaluru meeting will see observers from the party’s central leadership - Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and G Kishan Reddy, and BJP general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Arun Singh in attendance.
Of the top runners for the post are Murugesh Nirani, Basavaraj Bommai and Aravind Bellad. The first two are said to have the blessings of the incumbent Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa as they have been close associates of the Lingayat strongman, while the third is said to have the halo of the Sangh guarding him. While Bommai belongs to the Sadar Lingayat sect, Nirani and Bellad both belong to the Panchamsali sect.
Prominent Lingayat seers, who had all landed at acting CM B S Yediyurappa's residence last week, had demanded that in the case of a replacement, the next CM be a Lingayat from northern Karnataka. While last week saw almost a dozen names from various communities as contenders, the final shortlist seems to be an attempt to keep the community, which is said to hold almost 17 per cent votes in the state, with the BJP.
While Bommai has been holding the home portfolio in the current cabinet, Nirani has been handling the mines and geology ministry. The youngest contender is Aravind Bellad. An engineer by training, and a sugar and automobile entrepreneur, Bellad is a two-time MLA from Hubli-Dharwad. If chosen, would be holding his debut portfolio.
Bommai represents the Shiggao-savanna constituency of Haveri district in North Karnataka and will be following in the footsteps of his father S R Bommai who also held the top post in the state. Somappa Rayappa Bommai was the eleventh chief minister of Karnataka and one of the three key leaders who crafted the victory of the Janata party in 1983, the year in which Yediyurappa won as the MLA for the first time.
Bommai’s father too had taken over as the chief minister after Ramakrishna Hegde quit on moral grounds in 1988 but the govt was dismissed by the governor in 1989. He had then gone on to challenge this decision in the Supreme Court and the judgement became a landmark one that redefined centre-state relations in the country.
Bellad inherits the political baton from his father and BJP strongman Chandrakant Bellad, who was also a five-time MLA from Dharwad. A ‘younger’ leader of the lot and a post-graduate in business management from France, Bellad is known to have introduced unique projects in his constituency, like bringing white-topping technology and IIT to Dharwad as well as introducing preschool classes in government schools. The latter is said to have upped the turnout and also inspired the then CM Kumaraswamy to emulate the same in schools across the state.
The central observers Pradhan and Reddy met Yediyurappa at his residence and headed to Capitol Hotel in the city together where the meeting is being held.
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