Though BS Yediyurappa kept up the suspense on his exit until his tearful announcement yesterday, he had resigned as Karnataka Chief Minister weeks back, sources have said.
Mr Yediyurappa resigned on July 10, according to sources. A senior leader close to him brought his resignation letter to Delhi and handed it over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi the same day.
When he took a chartered flight to Delhi to meet with PM Modi and others in the BJP leadership, there was a strong buzz that he was about to resign.
Reports said in his meeting with the PM, he had offered to quit citing his poor health. But Mr Yediyurappa hedged and shut down all talk of his exit, telling reporters: “Not at all, not at all, not at all. There is no truth in it.”
Sources say at that meeting, Mr Yediyurappa told the Prime Minister he wanted some more time to resign. He reportedly said he wanted to unfurl the national flag on Independence Day August 15.
After that Mr Yediyurappa, 78, kept saying he had heard nothing from his party and that he would resign the moment he was asked to.
Sources say it appeared to be an attempt to project uncertainty over his exit and doubts in the party over whether to let him go. The apparent fluid status also helped create the impression that the BJP was finding it hard to find a replacement.
In all this speculation, Mr Yediyurappa kept a heavy official schedule and met with religious heads, including Lingayat seers, in a perceived message to his party leadership in Delhi on the strong support for him.
The Lingayats are a powerful community with a huge electoral impact in Karnataka, a fact that fortified Mr Yediyurappa for long, even though he faced corruption allegations over the years.
Finally, Mr Yediyurappa could stall no more as his government’s two-year anniversary arrived. He told reporters on Sunday evening that he had heard “nothing till now” from the BJP.
“Nothing has come till now… In the morning there is a programme to mark two years of government. I will speak about the achievements in those two years. After that, you will know the progress,” he said. “I have decided that I will work till the very last minute. I already said two months ago that I was ready to resign whenever I was asked to. I will say it again – until now I have got no message from the centre. As soon as it comes, if they ask me to continue I will. If not, I will resign and work for that party,” he added.