Basavaraj Bommai, With BS Yediyurappa’s Blessing, Takes Charge



Basavaraj Bommai took oath as Karnataka Chief Minister today, succeeding BS Yediyurappa who resigned on Monday. Mr Bommai was sworn-in by recently-appointed Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot in a brief ceremony in state capital Bengaluru. Mr Yediyurappa was present on the stage.

Mr Bommai, 61, was picked for the top post in Karnataka at a meeting of BJP MLAs yesterday. He met Mr Yediyurappa today, ahead of the swearing-in.

An MLA from Shiggaon in central Karnataka’s Haveri district, Mr Bommai is a politically powerful Lingayat leader like Mr Yediyurappa and was among his close confidantes. The Veerashaiva-Lingayat community forms 16 per cent of Karnataka’s 68 million population.

He was Minister for Home Affairs, Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Legislature in Mr Yediyurappa’s council of ministers which was dissolved on Monday.

The son of Janata Dal’s SR Bommai – a former Chief Minister of Karnataka in the 1980s – Mr Bommai joined the BJP from the Janata Dal United in 2008, along with 22 others JDU functionaries. He told NDTV that he “never expected it” and had faith only in his “hard work”.

He was a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council twice. He served as political secretary to former Chief Minister JH Patel and was also Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Council.

Since crossing over, Mr Bommai has remained a close confidant of Mr Yediyurappa and has risen in the party ranks.

A mechanical engineer by training, he worked for Tata Motors in Pune for three years before turning entrepreneur.

Married to Ms Chennamma, Mr Bommai has a son and a daughter and is a permanent resident of Dharwad district.

His interests include reading, writing, playing golf, and cricket.

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