Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa (born 27 February 1943) is an Indian politician serving as the 19th and current Chief Minister of Karnataka. Yediyurappa is serving as the Chief Minister of Karnataka for the fourth time, the only Chief Minister to do so in the history of Karnataka and he is also the only person in the history of Karnataka to serve 3 times as Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. He is also an eight-times MLA from Shikaripura constituency in Shimoga district.
In 2008, Yediyurappa became the Chief Minister after leading the BJP to a victory in the Karnataka Assembly elections, a first for the BJP in a South Indian state. In 2011, he resigned after being indicted over a corruption case; he was acquitted in 2016. Owing to alleged ill-treatment meted out to Yediyurappa by the BJP High Command, he left BJP and formed his own party, the Karnataka Janata Paksha. However, in 2014 he merged his party with the BJP and was subsequently elected to the 16th Lok Sabha from the Shimoga constituency, which he quit after being elected to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in May 2018. On 17 May 2018, he was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka, his third term in the office. Unable to get a majority support in the Assembly, he resigned just two days after taking office and H. D. Kumaraswamy took oath as CM. After the government of H. D. Kumaraswamy lost its majority on 23 July 2019 with the resignation of 17 MLAs, he became chief minister of Karnataka and took oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on 26 July 2019 and proved his majority on 29 July 2019. In the December by-elections, BJP won 12 seats out of the 15 under his leadership and gained full majority of 117 seats.
Yediyurappa was born on 27 February 1943 in a village called Bookanakere in K.R.Pet taluk of Mandya district. His parents were Siddalingappa and Puttathayamma. He was named after the presiding deity of a Shaivite temple built by the great saint Siddalingeshwara at Yediyur in Tumkuru district. His mother died when he was four. He completed his Pre-University College education from Government college, Mandya (Mysore University)- 1960–61. He belongs to Banajiga sub-sect of Lingayat community.
In 1965, he was appointed as a first-division clerk in the social welfare department but he quit the job and moved on to Shikaripura where he joined as a clerk at Veerabhadra Shastri’s Shankara rice mill. In 1967, Yediyurappa married Mythradevi, daughter of the rice mill owner. He later set up a hardware shop in Shimoga. Yediyurappa has two sons, Raghavendra, B.Y Vijayendra and three daughters, Arunadevi, Padmavati and Umadevi. In 2004, his wife died after falling into a sump while drawing water. In 2007, he changed the spelling of his name to Yeddyurappa from the earlier Yediyurappa following the advice of his astrologers, to change back again to Yediyurappa before oath taking ceremony on 26 July 2019. He is a proud follower of Basavanna. In 2020 he was infected by the COVID-19 virus but recovered soon afterwards.
Having been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh from his college days, Yediyurappa’s public service began when he was appointed as Karyavaha (Secretary) of the Sangh’s Shikaripur unit in 1970. In 1972, he was elected to the Shikaripura Town Municipality and was also appointed as the President of the Taluk unit of the Jana Sangh. In 1975, he was elected President of the Town Municipality of Shikaripura. He was imprisoned during the Emergency in India and lodged in the Bellary and Shimoga jails. In 1980, he was appointed President of the Shikaripura taluk unit of the BJP and later went on to become the president of BJP’s Shimoga district unit in 1985. In 1988, he became the State President of the BJP in Karnataka. He was first elected to the lower house of the Karnataka Legislature in 1983 and has since represented the Shikaripura constituency six times. He has been a member of the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Twelfth and Thirteenth Legislative Assemblies (lower house) of Karnataka. Following the 1994 state assembly elections, he became the Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. In 1999, he lost the elections but was nominated by the BJP to become a member of the legislative council (upper house) of Karnataka. Again, he was re-elected in 2004 and became the Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly during the chief ministership of Dharam Singh.
His first stint in power when he helped Janata Dal (Secular) leader H. D. Kumaraswamy to bring down the coalition government headed by Dharam Singh and form an alternative government with BJP. An agreement was made between the JD(S) and BJP, which specified that H. D. Kumaraswamy would be the Chief Minister for the first 20 months, after which Yediyurappa would become the Chief Minister for the remaining 20 months. Yediyurappa became the Deputy Chief Minister as well as the finance minister in Kumaraswamy’s Government.
However, in October 2007, when it was Yediyurappa’s turn to become Chief Minister, Kumaraswamy refused to relinquish his post. This forced Yediyurappa and all the ministers from his party to resign and on 5 October, the BJP formally withdrew the support to the Kumaraswamy government. Karnataka came under President’s rule which was revoked on 7 November as the JD(S) and the BJP decided to bury their differences and this paved the way for Yediyurappa to become the Chief Minister of Karnataka. Yediyurappa was sworn in as the 25th Chief Minister of Karnataka on 12 November 2007. However, JD(S) refused to support his government over disagreement on sharing of ministries which resulted in his resignation as Chief Minister on 19 November 2007.
In Karnataka’s 2008 Assembly elections, Yediyurappa contested from Shikaripura against former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa of the Samajwadi Party. The Indian National Congress and JD(S) backed Bangarappa, but despite this, Yediyurappa won the seat by a margin of more than 45,000 votes. He also led the BJP to a historic victory in the state and Karnataka became the gateway for the BJP in south India. He took the oath of office as Chief Minister on 30 May 2008.
However, the Karnataka Lokayukta investigating the illegal mining case submitted its report indicting Yediyurappa for illegally profiteering from land deals in Bangalore and Shimoga, and also in connection with the illegal iron ore export scam in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts of Karnataka. Following much pressure from the BJP central leadership, he announced his decision to quit. Finally, he resigned on 31 July 2011.
He resigned from his position as Member of Legislative Assembly and primary membership of Bharatiya Janata Party on 30 November 2012, and formally launched the Karnataka Janata Paksha. It is told that his former colleague and senior BJP leader Anna Vinayachandra was the key person who led the movement at national level to demand expulsion from the party which led to his resignation. Although the party and its name were registered in April 2011, Yediyurappa actually launched it in 2012. He got elected as an MLA from Shikaripura Constituency (Shimoga district) in May 2013.
In November 2013, it was announced that he was considering an unconditional return to the BJP. On 2 January 2014 he announced merger with BJP ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He won from the Shimoga seat of Karnataka in the 2014 Indian general election by a margin of 363,305 votes.
In 2016, BJP re-appointed him as the President of Karnataka state BJP unit. He was BJP’s CM candidate in 2018 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election. But the party managed to win only 104 seats, 9 short of simple majority.
During the aftermath of the 2018 Karnataka Legislative assembly elections, Yediyurappa was invited to form the government and become the Chief Minister by the Governor citing that his party was the single largest in the house with 104 seats (8 short of majority in the assembly). He was sworn in on 17 May 2018 by the Governor Vajubhai Vala, becoming the Chief minister of Karnataka for the third time. He was given 15 days to prove majority by the governor but the Supreme Court intervened and cut it short to just 24 hours and ordered a floor test (trust vote) soon after. The trust vote was to be held on 19 May 2018 at 4pm. Before the trust vote was to begin, however, Chief Minister B. S Yediyurappa gave an emotional speech, following which he resigned citing that he will be unable to prove majority. He thus became one of the shortest-serving chief minister in India with just 2 1⁄2 days in office.
Due to turmoil in the coalition government of JDS and Congress, 16 MLAS had submitted their resignation to government turning it to minority 2019 Karnataka resignation crisis. But out of 16, MLA Ramalinga Reddy was convinced to join back the fold. After 18 days of up and downs with rebel MLAs not withdrawing their demands and resignations, coalition government had to step down due to defeat of trust vote on 23 July 2019 hereby paving way to BJP and its leader Yediyurappa to stake claim for government formation. He was invited by Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala on 26 July to form the new government.
The by-polls for these 15 out of the 17 constituencies were conducted on 5 December, where all the parties campaigned immensely. B. S. Yediyurappa promised the voters that each candidate would be awarded a ministry if the people vote them. The results were declared on 9 December. BJP and its leader Yediyurappa were victorious by winning 12 out of the 15 contested seats, thereby a gaining a full majority, and a total of 117/224 assembly seats in the 2019 Karnataka Legislative Assembly by-elections.