Yeddyurappa — Master survivor, now grounded
Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa, 68, who completed three years and two months in office as the first saffron party chief minister of Karnataka, ushered in a bumper harvest for the BJP in the state during the 2008 Assembly elections.
Always sporting his trademark white safari suit, he was also briefly the chief minister in November 2007 before the coalition government with JD(S) collapsed following what he called the "betrayal" by its leader and his predecessor H D Kumaraswamy.
Yeddyurappa, who had to juggle with one crisis or the other, has shown his skills as a political survivor, overcoming adversities emanating from within his own party and the combined Congress-JD(S) onslaught to oust him over alleged land scams.
Learning initial steps of leadership, development of mass base and human resource management from the RSS, it has been a fascinating journey dotted with many struggles for the devout Lingayat who believed that the gods are on his side.
He went on to apply these pragmatic lessons in action when he decided to lead various mass movements in the state, highlighting the problems faced by landless farmers and bonded labourers.
Yeddyurappa never misses an opportunity to visit temples when he is confronted by crisis but he was not lucky this time after he was severely indicted by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde on corruption charges. He was named after presiding deity of a Shaivite temple built by the saint Siddalingeshwar at Yedeyur, in Tumkur district.
On a couple of occasions before his fate was almost sealed but Yeddyurappa had the last laugh as he battled a spate of allegations of multi-crore land scams, nepotism and open violation of rules to favour his kith and kin.
Yeddyurappa managed to rally round his party MPs and loyalists after remaining defiant and keeping the top brass guessing on his moves when he was once asked to resign by the BJP leadership.
Yeddyurappa, whose end as chief minister once seemed almost certain, with a smug opposition and his detractors within the party triumphant over delivering what they believed were deadly blows, has managed to carry the day with the party asking him to stay on.