Basavaraj Bommai New Chief Minister of India's Karnataka

 Basavaraj Bommai is the new Chief Minister of Karnataka. (Photo: Collected)

Basavaraj Bommai is the new Chief Minister of Karnataka. (Photo: Collected)

In a choice that underlined a keenness to protect the Lingayat vote base rather than indulge in risky experiments, the India's BJP on Tuesday chose 61-year-old Basavaraj Bommai as the next Chief Minister of Karnataka.

Significantly, Bommai, who joined the BJP only in 2008, is not from the RSS stables and was earlier associated with the JD(U). This makes him an exception among BJP Chief Ministers in the State. He is a moderate face, not known to take a hardline Hindutva stance and an amenable man across party lines, according to The Hindu.

Bommai met Governor Taawarchand Gehlot late at night on Tuesday and will be sworn in alone on Wednesday at 11 a.m.


Though there had been intense and wild speculation on the possibility of the BJP throwing a “surprise” choice, the saffron party played it safe by going with Bommai who does not disrupt the caste calculations and, significantly, is seen as a man who is close to the Lingayat strongman and outgoing Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. He also meets the long-pending demand for a man from North Karnataka to be at the helm of affairs in the State.

The decision came just a day after 78-year-old Yediyurappa resigned with tears in his eyes, at an event organised to mark the second anniversary of his chief ministership — a bumpy ride marked by dissidence, allegations of corruption and nepotism. Bommai, in contrast, will be seen not only as young and educated, but also non-controversial.

In a day of quick and dramatic developments, the BJP Legislature Party meeting was convened and central observers dispatched from Delhi. At the late evening meeting, the name of Bommai was proposed byYediyurappa and seconded by former Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol. The choice was later announced by central observer Dharmendra Pradhan at a crowded press conference.

Speaking after staking claim, Bommai thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party, besides Yediyurappa whom he described as his mentor.  

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