Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa took oath as the 23rd chief minister of Karnataka on Friday, beginning his fourth stint in the office days after the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition lost the floor of the House.
Yediyurappa, who has reverted to the older spelling of his name from the Yeddyurappa he used between 2007 and now, will face a confidence motion on Monday during a special session called to prove his government’s majority.
Yediyurappa, 76, headed to governor Vajubhai Vala’s residence at 10am on Friday after he received the green signal from the central Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership late on Thursday night. The central leadership had thus far refrained from giving Yediyurappa the go-ahead, but he had sent a four-member team to convince the party brass.
Even before he took oath, Yediyurappa, as chief minister-designate, ordered the chief secretary to put on hold all the work sanctioned by the previous government in July that hadn’t been carried out. Additionally, transfers ordered by the previous government in July that hadn’t been implemented were put on hold till further orders.
Leaders from both the Congress and the JD(S) boycotted the oath-taking ceremony. Former chief minister and Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah said the BJP was converting the state into an experimental lab. “Karnataka assembly has become an experimental lab for @BJP4Karnataka & BJP backed governor to try unconstitutional ways to form govt. In what article of the constitution is the governor allowed to permit the party to form govt that doesn’t have majority?” he tweeted.
Congress Karnataka president Dinesh Gundu Rao ordered his party colleagues to give the event a miss. The JD(S), meanwhile, called it a dark day. It put out a tweet saying: “#HorseTradingParty of India has ‘claimed’ stake to form govt even though they don’t meet the magic number 112. Today marks one of the darkest days in the history of Karnataka. Democracy is dying a slow death because of BJP’s unconstitutional practices.”
Congress rebel MLA Roshan Baig was present at the ceremony. He was suspended last month from the Congress and submitted his resignation as legislator earlier this month. His resignation has not been accepted and he has a pending disqualification petition against him for disobeying the Congress whip.
After taking oath, Yediyurappa held a cabinet meeting and announced that as an additional measure, the state government would provide two instalments of ~2,000 each to beneficiaries under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi — under which farmers receive three instalments of ~2,000 each per year. He announced a loan waiver package of Rs 100 crore for weavers in the state.
Addressing a press conference, Yediyurappa said he felt that it was a matter of pride for the people of the state that he had become the chief minister. “In four-five months we have to show the difference between this government and the coalition government that was in power over the past 14 months,” he said.