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Letters: The making of Yeddyurappa

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Apropos Aditi Phadnis’ column “Revenge of the fallen” (Plain Politics, December 8), the writer incorrectly mentions that B S Yeddyurappa belonged to north Karnataka. He was born in K R Pet Taluk of Mandya district, located plumb in the middle of the old Mysore region in south Karnataka. He shifted to Shikaripur in Shimoga district (which again is in south Karnataka) and found employment in a rice mill owned by a prosperous trader. No doubt Yeddyurappa possessed some extraordinary qualities that the mill owner married his daughter to him. Thereafter, Yeddyurappa’s fortunes changed for the better. Meanwhile, he was an active Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker (and office bearer). His association with the RSS ensured that he was also an active member of the Jan Sangh (the Bharatiya Janata Party’s precursor); he effectively used this association to climb the political ladder.

When he came to power in 2008, he is known to have confided in his close associates that he would work towards making Karnataka another Gujarat and give Narendra Modi a run for his money. But his children ensured that it would not be so. His children are suspected to have worked on his weaknesses, and even alleged to have gone to the extent of forging his signature on key government documents, with huge financial implications — leaving Yeddyurappa with no choice but to admit the signature was his own. His inglorious treatment of bureaucrats later resulted in them striking back with everyday exposés of his and his family’s black deeds.

Later, when Yeddyurappa anointed Sadananda Gowda as his successor, he opposed – tooth and nail – any attempt to bring in Jagadish Shettar as chief minister because he saw in Shettar, a rival for the position of supreme leader of the Lingayat community. But then, when Gowda proved to be his own man, he insisted on Shettar becoming chief minister (he is supposed to have extracted a promise from Shettar, by making him swear that he would govern solely by the diktats of Yeddyurappa). That Shettar, an otherwise astute administrator, has proven to be a totally incompetent chief minister.

Shankar Poti Bangalore

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