The Free Press Journal - - FRONT PAGE - RAJ SHANKAR

BJP's 75-year-old Lin­gayat leader B S Yed­dyu­rappa on Thurs­day took over as the 23rd Chief Min­is­ter of Kar­nataka. Af­ter a brief prayer to the sun god in the morn­ing pre­ceded by a dra­mafilled night, the oath of of­fice was ad­min­is­tered by Gov­er­nor Va­jub­hai Vala at 9 am in a brief cer­e­mony. He took oath in the name of god and farm­ers. In­ter­est­ingly, within hours of tak­ing oath, he an­nounced that he will soon waive off crop loans of farm­ers across the state in sync with the BJP elec­tion pledge.

Cel­e­bra­tions broke out in Bengaluru and other parts of Kar­nataka af­ter the oath tak­ing, even as the Congress and the JD(S) vowed to re­move Yed­dyu­rappa from of­fice

within 24 hours. The Congress also threat­ened mas­sive and wide­spread protests across Kar­nataka. Soon af­ter the swear­ing in cer­e­mony, the Congress headed by Ghu­lam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gh­elot, Venu­gopal and Sid­dara­ma­iah went straight to the Vid­hana Soudha and sat in protest.

It was rather ironic to see the for­mer CM Sid­dara­ma­iah, who proudly oc­cu­pied the thrown in the sprawl­ing Vid­hana Soudha for five years, sit meekly on the steps in protest.

While an­a­lysts and ex­perts con­demned the BJP and BSY, the saf­fron party has a rea­son to be in a hurry. The BJP is look­ing far ahead at next year's gen­eral elec­tions. The BJP is keen on keep­ing the Lin­gay­ats (the largest com­mu­nity) in cen­tral and north Kar­nataka, the hard core Hindu loy­al­ists in coastal Kar­nataka, the Back­ward Class and SCs in Hy­der­abad-Kar­natak re­gion and the neo vot­ers in Bengaluru happy. These are ar­eas from where the BJP got its seats and sup­port. In 2019, the party wants to con­sol­i­date these vote banks.

Hand­ing over the CM chair to the Lin­gayat com­mu­nity's ri­val H D Ku­maraswamy, a Vokaliga, would be seen by the BJP vote base, es­pe­cially the Lin­gay­ats who wear their ha­tred for Vokali­gas on their sleeve, as a be­trayal and an in­sult to the man­date. Un­like the geo­graph­i­cal spread of the BJP, the JD(S) got its vote only from its tra­di­tional re­gion - Old My­suru re­gion. The BJP knows that what­ever they do, they will never be able to make a chink in the Vokaliga belt in the Old My­suru re­gion.

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