Cochin Herald

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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him Power”- Abraham Lincoln

Power has tested a leader’s character. Many of the great rulers and leaders have used their power to achieve prosperity for their people, creating laws that brought stability to civilization and raising living standards. Every era in history has produced trailblazers whose impact has lasted generations. Their stories, breakthroughs and ideas have paved the way for development, freedom and the betterment of mankind. They have carved a niche for themselves and etched their names in the hearts of Indians. With their works and reforms contributing to the well-being of people, they have won hearts and attracted critics alike. B.S. Yediyurappa is one such politician who has left a tremendous impact on the Kannadigas through his leadership, inspiration, patriotism and valour.

A ‘Mass Leader’ and a ‘Formidable Force’ within the BJP Government in Karnataka:

BSY is considered as a Strong Leader who has laid the foundations of a strong and well-financed government. The veteran BJP leader has been recently sworn in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka for the fourth time, the only CM to do so in the history of Karnataka. Soon after his swearing-in as the Chief Minister, BSY ran a ‘one-man show’ amidst Karnataka’s worst floods to battle against oppositions’ attacks. Standing tall, the Lingayat strongman is an attestation to how much of southern fortunes depend on Yediyurappa. Well known for his outspokenness and straightforward decision making, it is Yediyurappa’s political intelligence that has made him to stay afloat in the rolling waters of Karnataka politics.

The Modi Wave in Karnataka- Victory of Democracy:

In May 2018, when the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the 16th Karnataka assembly, the two parties JDS and Congress blocked the BJP and formed the Government. Since then, Karnataka has been in the clutches of a political crisis caused by differences within the coalition. In 2019, the tables have been turned down, as the coalition failed and the stage was set for the Lotus Party. After an intense political drama, the Congress-JDS’ trust vote plummeted to 99 legislators in the 225 member assembly, reducing the Government to a minority. The exit of Congress-JD (S) coalition government in Karnataka paved way for BJP to occupy the power corridors of the State. After the fall of the Congress-JDS coalition, Karnataka is to witness a new era of development.

From BJP Leader to Chief Minister-The Rise of a Politician:

Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa has been associated with politics since his college days. He completed his Pre-University College education from PES College, Mandya. As a part of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, he was appointed as the secretary of Sangh’s Shikaripura 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 as the 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 as the 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.

Despite being controversy’s favourite child, BSY has been able to mark a significant impact on the economy, culture and Government of Karnataka. And the controversy did not leave him alone even during his ascent to the throne of Karnataka. He started his career as a first-division clerk in the social welfare department. But, quit his job and joined Shankar rice mill owned by Veerbhadra Shastri as a clerk. After working there, he opened his hardware shop in Shimoga.

As an MLA from Shikaripura, he was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1983 and went on to win it five more times. He has in all represented Shikaripura six times. He has been a member of the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Twelfth and Thirteenth Legislative Assemblies (lower house) of Karnataka. In 1999, he lost the elections but was nominated by the BJP to become a member of the legislative council (upper house) of Karnataka. 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 as a Chief Minister lasted all of seven days (from November 12-19 in 2007) after the JD(S) withdrew support and the President’s rule was imposed in the State. He again made way to the coveted post in 2008. His second stint was slightly longer at just over three years, beginning May 2008. It was Yediyurappa who gave BJP a historic win in the 2008 Karnataka Assembly elections, and allowed the saffron party to find a strong foothold in the South, but yet again BSY couldn’t complete a full term. After that in 2012, he formed a new party ‘Karnataka Janata Party’, but rejoined the BJP, before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in which he got elected from Shimoga Lok Sabha constituency.

Despite becoming the Karnataka Chief Minister four times in his political career so far, the BJP leader has never completed a full term. His last stint was just 48 hours long. Sworn in right after the Karnataka election last year yielded no clear winner, B.S. Yediyurappa resigned ahead of a floor test. The Congress and the Janata Dal Secular tried up to keep the BJP out of power in the State until 2019 elections.

Revamping of the State under the Yediyurappa Government:

With Shri B. S. Yediyurappa, a veteran, back as CM, his experience will spur the growth. The State and Centre both having BJP Governments, will work in sync to implement development plans and smoothly execute proposed projects.

In Response to State’s Stunted Expenditure, Yediyurappa asserted that Karnataka, despite the slowdown in the economy, is in a better position compared to other states. The total allocation for the 2019-20 fiscal year is Rs 1,94,643 crores. GST registrations in the State have seen a 100% jump from 4.51 lakh during the rollout of the new tax regime to 8.16 lakh now. For 2019-20 fiscal year, the commercial taxes department has a target of Rs 76, 046 crores of which Rs 33, 618 crores have been collected so far, which is 20% more than the receipts in the corresponding period last year. Over 64,000 GST licenses have been revoked for non-remittances. Excise revenue is on par fixed targets. The stamps and registration department has mopped up Rs 4,620 crore out of the targeted Rs 11,828 crore with a rise in property registrations in Bengaluru by 3.86%. In addition, Minning and Geology Department is poised to achieve its target of Rs 3,550 crore by the end of the fiscal year.

The new agendas for progress in the Administration:

• Flood relief aid: A total of 103 taluks across 22 districts have been hit by floods, displacing nearly 7 lakh people. Based on the Rs 3000 crore from the Centre as flood relief amount, the Government is planning to provide special package for the flood-hit areas, especially focusing on huge losses of commercial crops that are not covered under insurance. The Cabinet also decided to build homes costing Rs 5 lakh each to those who have been displaced by floods. The state government will form a ‘special squad’ to check pilferage in the financial aid for families displaced by the recent floods. The per family ex-gratia has been hiked from Rs 3800 to Rs 10000. The Government would ensure the release of the first instalment of a compensation of Rs 1 lakh, which would enable the victims to lay the foundation of their new houses. Traders whose shops have been damaged will also be provided with a compensation of Rs 10000.

• Curbing the Waste menace: The State is planning to implement the Goa model to solve its rising garbage problem. The BBMP and the National Green Tribunal’s State Level Monitoring committee is studying the Goa model for the collection and disposal of solid waste. The CM has also planned to dedicate one Sunday every 15 days to meet citizens of selected areas and spend at least two hours addressing their grievances. A proposal such as preparing compost using garbage from the city is also being put forth. As per the National Green Tribunal, Mysuru, Mangaluru and Belagavi and other four smaller cities/towns will be transformed into zero-waste urban centres within six months. Maintaining a systematic and mandatory collection and processing of 105 of solid waste, keeping a waste bin for every 100 mtrs at public places and commercial areas, total enforcement on the ban on plastic and imposing a penalty on offenders on the spot are some of the provisions in order by the state government.

• Civic Issues: The cabinet has allocated Rs 11,648.9 crore budget to the State to kickstart all pending and new projects. The CM recently paid visit to ten spots in the city to check on the development works. Yediyurrapa stressed the need to expedite the metro work to reduce the density of the traffic on the roads. The metro works connecting Whitefield and Electronics city is slated to be completed by 2021. To reduce traffic along the Outer Ring Road, the Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA) is planning to implement measures such as dedicated bus lane, zero tolerance for roadside parking, improved footpaths, cycle paths and clearance of illegal encroachments. Karnataka is also planning to make a serious push for Electric buses as a green light proposal by a private firm which has offered to manufacture and operate the buses in the State. At Sepel, Mangaluru, a location that has rail, air and port connectivity, a manufacturing unit of electric buses will be set up. The move is a part of Government’s effort to attract foreign investment in the transport sector. This initiative is to solve the issues of last-mile connectivity, especially in rural areas and villages that still don’t have bus connectivity.

• Relaxation on Traffic Rules: Citizens are demanding a good road infrastructure over stringent rules. In accordance to the latest stringent Traffic rules and fines, BSY has directed the Transport department to slash fines for traffic offences immediately. Yediyurappa has asked the transport department to follow what Gujarat has done on reducing fine amounts.

• Inter-State Water Disputes- Karnataka and Maharashtra Government have joined hands and decided to form a high-level committee for Dam Management in the wake of megafloods. The State Government is also planning to collaborate with the Isha Foundation led by Sadhguru to save Cauvery river and will be planting two crore saplings to spread greenery as part of the campaign.

• Boosting of Tourism Sector in J n K after the scrapping of Article 370: Karnataka is also planning to join hands with Maharashtra to build resorts in J n K and Ladakh. The resorts will be built through the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). The plan is to showcase Karnataka’s art, culture and traditions in India’s Crown. In addition, the Government plans to buy land in the Valley by making a capital investment and hand it over to the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), a state-owned body involved in development and maintenance of tourist locations in the State. KSTDC also owns and maintains hotels and resorts at key tourist centres of the State.

• Voicing for the Disability Rights- The Unique Disability Identity Card or the Swavalamban card scheme of the Central Government which was rolled out in Karnataka in 2019, aims to create a database of persons with Disabilities (PwDs). Around 4500 PwDs are employed in the private sector through NGO’s with approximately 60 people in the government jobs.

• Detecting Labour Law violations: To ensure that labour laws are followed when contract employees are paid salaries, the State has planned to set up a team that will conduct surprise checks in all departments and act against violators. Among the laws being violated include the Minimum wages act, Employees’ state insurance act and the PF act.

• Hike in OBC student Hostel: B.S. Yediyurappa government is eyeing another populist move, increasing accommodation in hostels for backward class students. Karnataka has 2438 hostels and 18 Ashram schools for backward. Government is planning to allocate additional expenditure to create the infrastructure to support the increase in hostels’ accommodation. The Government has also put forward a proposal to increase stipend under the Vidyasiri Scheme.

• Training Women to tackle Malnutrition Challenge: Karnataka is looking forward to train women who provide nutrition supplements to anganwadis to tackle malnutrition challenges posed by low hygiene and food quality. The Department of Women and Child Development promotes MSPTC for manufacture and supply of food items under the supplementary nutrition programme to beneficiaries of the integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). Mahila Supplementary Nutrition Production and Training Centres (MSPTC) will complement various initiatives of the State and Central governments to tackle malnutrition.

• Occupation Survey of the Minorities: In a first, the Karnataka State Minorities Commission is planning to conduct an ‘Occupation Survey’ of the communities in the State to tailor welfare programmes for target beneficiaries and also to evaluate the effectiveness of existing projects. As per the 2011 census, there are about 96 lakh members of minority communities, including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. From school education scholarships to building community halls, the welfare schemes have focused on various sectors. The commission will take up the survey on a pilot basis in two districts with a relatively higher number of minorities. This survey data will help the department to weed out unnecessary schemes and divert the funds for the upliftment of larger groups.

• Karnataka jobs for Kannadigas: B.S. Yediyurappa has promised a lion’s share for Kannadigas in jobs in the State amid growing demands for reservation for the residents.

• 100-crore Kempe Gowda Statue: The Government has sanctioned for the installation of a statue of Bengaluru founder Kempe Gowda near Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) at a cost of 100 crore. The statue of Kempe Gowda – whom the Vokkaliga community identifies as an icon – could be 100-ft. tall. Besides, a museum to showcase his achievements and growth of Bengaluru will come up on one-acre land within the airport premises. As per the sources, the statue would be on the lines of that of Sardar Patel’s in Gujarat.

• 31st district in Vijayanagara: Chief minister B.S Yediyurappa has put forth a proposal to the cabinet to carve out Karnataka’s 31st administrative district by dividing Ballari. The proposal is to convert Hospete, Kampli, Hagribommanahalli, Kottur, Hadagali and Harapanahalli to form the new district of Vijayanagara. Ballari has become a tedious task for the Government administer, considering it has 11 taluks and 11 revenue sub-divisions. In most cases, farmers, daily wage labourers and poor people have to travel no less than 200 kilometres to the district headquarters in Ballari city. As a result, the plan is to ease the troubles by carving out a separate district for its efficient administration.

• Vision 2050 in Karnataka: The Bengaluru Metropolitan Region Development Authority will prepare the project that envisages linking Hoskote, Doddaballapur, Anekal and Dobaspet with the city through the peripheral ring road. With this, new townships will be created, and it will reduce pressure on the city.

Scaling new heights and Leading by Example:

‘It is said that every leader is a politician, but every politician cannot be a leader’. One of the most active political figures in Karnataka, BSY has his own charisma and has always played a crucial role in the development of the State. He is optimistic, honest, philanthropist and a leader with a hopeful vision of the future.
Yediyurappa is also seen as a rural politician who has positioned himself as a “farmer leader”. Many also recall him as a person with a down-to-earth attitude, certain humility and one who holds a genuine concern for party workers. People who work with BSY describe him as a trustworthy person who is open to ideas as well as people. His successful tactics and ideals have proven to be an inspiration across the State which has made him far more than simply a political figurehead.


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All stories by: Cochin Herald